Prose @ Brudenell Social Club 4/3/16
Brudenell Social Club played host on Friday 4th March to Mancunian trio Prose, consisting of Mike Murray, Lee Royle and Dave Stone, a band with an experimental blend of indie and hip-hop sounds. Before the trio graced the stage with their dance-friendly riffs and raw, emotional lyrics, befitting of the band’s title, the crowd was granted the pleasure of witnessing a surreal show from Box Beat, a beatboxing collective who subjected Brudenell’s archetypal indie-lad audience to a truly unforgettable version of Dizzee Rascal’s ‘Bonkers’.
When Prose finally did take to the stage, the crowd straight away sensed the undeniable energy radiating from the trio – not just energy, but confidence too. Confidence that felt more befitting of a band who had been touring for years, playing big venues, rather than three guys from Manchester playing the Social’s mere second room. It was this confidence, however, that made the night so enjoyable and the band so riveting to watch, for it was impossible to listen to lead singer Mike Murray’s heartfelt lyrics about his struggles growing up amidst alcoholism to a backdrop of melodic, acoustic riffs sometimes spiced up with an erratic drumbeat without wanting to dance, like their page on Facebook or get straight home and listen to debut EP What If on Spotify or iTunes.
Opening song ‘Empty Hands’ established the band’s sound as a compelling hybrid of indie riffs and hip-hop spoken word, mirroring the honest lyrics of artists like Jamie T and Rat Boy. Lead singer Mike Murray’s fast-paced spoken word ensured that no member of the audience could tear their eyes away, instead being forced to sway to the acoustic, and melodic beat of the guitar whilst being taken on a personal journey into his past. Lyrics centred on Murray’s personal experiences with family alcoholism such as “drinking till his gut’s bust” and “had one too many cans to drink, rambling” forced the audience to retain attention, becoming invested in the story unfolding on stage. It was refreshing to listen to a young band whose lyrics focused on real life experiences without trying to blur over the hardest content. The heartfelt question of “what if I found another way to soothe the pain?” made the audience again realise the power of music and what we were listening to, for the cathartic nature of playing live to an audience had obviously helped Murray avoid lifestyle choices he otherwise might have succumbed to. ‘Run With Faith’ contrasted with the heartfelt, anecdotal subject matter of the other songs with its jazzy, electronic riffs and allowed the audience time to just dance and have a genuinely good time, a perfect end to a great night at Leeds’s most special music venue.