Rudimental – O2 Academy (4/5)
Following 2013’s chart topping success, the refreshingly energetic quartet that is Rudimental hit Leeds o2 Academy with breakthrough album “Home” strapped firmly under their belt and expectations in the crowd high. Not afraid to give a bold opening, the band burst onto stage among an array of dancing female vocalists and strobe lighting. Each song leaks seamlessly into the next, however, there are only so many album tracks that can be played one after another before the crowd’s vivacity begins to fade and the wait for the bands hits becomes seemingly endless. However, as the set draws to a close and the legendary ‘Feel the Love’ is played, the momentum of the audience is somewhat heightened and once more the room is a bouncing sea of vibrant faces, while everyone sings – or shouts – the well known lyrics. And the best is definitely kept until last. The band’s hit tune ‘Waiting All Night’ is performed with insane energy and the crowd go wild; the female vocals are perfect and everyone on and off stage is gen- uinely enjoying themselves. If the band had been able to maintain the levels of energy reached on these well known numbers throughout the set, it would no doubt have been a more memorable gig. Rudimental seem to have been catapulted into the limelight with only a handful of well known singles and though their top hits are catchy and well known, the rest of the tracks seem repetitive and monotonous in comparison.
No Age – Brudenell Social Club (4/5)
First on tonight are The Engine, a Rock/Electro four piece local to Leeds. They are a band of 32 note sparkling synths, break beat rhythms and Bowie-esque vocals. Their music often delves into Garage Rock, denoted by the lead singers’ Idlewild drones. Nonetheless, they are original and the use of synth is disciplined and by no means overbearing. Overall, they are definitely worth looking out for on the local music scene.
In the studio, No Age’s decades old brand of noise rock lies somewhere between The National’s low thuds and Jesus and Mary Chain’s echoed distortion. However, I’m pleased that, live, their sound is more intrusive: the lo-fi production on CD muffles too much of the raw energy demonstrated by this drums and guitar duo. We’re greeted with a rising tide of sound that climbs into a steady groove for their new track ‘Circling With Dizzy’. Three songs in and this sound is transformed into a cascade of noise that is sustained through the entire performance, textured by the thudding of the drums and the cracking of the guitar. Each song is distinct, provided the listener is prepared to pick apart the structures of each number.
Despite the rattling of the audience’s ear cartilage, the ambience of the noise invites them to close their eyes and dissolve into the static. It’s an intensely visual experience, particularly for ‘Commerce, Comment, Commence’ – a rushing, ambient refrain from their other songs. ‘Everybody visualise’ commands the lead vocalist, “we’re on the beach in California”. After this, the pounding of the drums is the only thing to stop the audience from falling into a stupor. No Age are a surprisingly versatile and entertaining duo of musicians, especially given their limited instrumentation. All in all, a solid performance that, through its sheer volume, shook a new life into their extensive repertoire.
Leo Garbutt (+ images)
Splashh – Brudenell Social Club (2/5)
“Can you all come forward?” beckons Splassh’s lead singer Sasha Carlson as the sedentary audience rise to their feet expectantly, filling the humble Brudenell. And expectant they should be – the band having been hailed NME’s Radar Band of the Week as well as receiving an impressive review for their debut album Com- fort, released in September. “Is everyone feel- ing good? Monday night blues, eh?” says the front man, before ousting any such low spirits with a well-oiled rendition of ‘Need It’, transporting the eager crowd to the psychedelic land the Anglo-Antipodean foursome inhabit with kaleidoscopic projections of amphibians and teeth. A new song, ‘Peanut Butter and Jelly’ proves to be a highlight with its fast tempo and upbeat melody, finally making the self-conscious crowd nod and jig their knees appreciatively, while a trio attempt some interpretive dance at the back. It then breaks down into an emphatic drum and bass heavy (not that sort) middle-8, hazy guitars providing a soaring melody which cements the group as one of the most exciting new psychedelic bands the country has seen for quite some time. The new wave of Aussie psyche-rock has clearly influenced the year-old humble band from Hackney, but instead of feeling distant and aloof – as Tame Impala often does – Splashh are totally there in the moment. “I want something real/something to feel” laments Carlson.