Deptford Goth – Belgrave Music Hall 16/10/13
Deptford Goth’s debut album Life After Defo certified the south Londoner as one to watch in the UK electronic scene for 2013. Boasting strands of How to Dress Well and Active Child with distant 80s synth sounds that pleasantly glaze over the listener, the man under the alias – Daniel Woodhouse – carries a dark yet hopeful style. At the newly opened Belgrave Music Hall in Leeds, a crowd of eager blog followers settle into the gloomy, candle lit, sofa setup awaiting to see how it transpires live.
The stage is inhabited by a minimal band: Woodhouse on electronics/keys and an intriguing cellist. Replicating songs from the album is done with precision and ease; the small audience applaud politely, but there’s something not quite right in the atmosphere – It’s eerily quiet, but not in the comforting way. The title track of the album ‘Life After Defo’ is executed with sensational warmth which is very much needed in the sub zero room. Sat poised, the cellist spends the set delivering some of the main synth lines from the album, and while there may be suggestions of a cello on the record, its novelty wears off in the live setting. Woodhouse indulges us with a solo performance of ‘Lions’ – it’s effortless and highlights his ability to absorb the room with just a few chords and a wispy vocal line. Second in line in terms of highlights is ‘Union’, its epic chorus – (well, epic in the Deptford Goth-ian sense) “I belong with everyone, everyone I’ve ever known is here, with me” – exerts the hopeful side of our musical host. Doubtless there is an instinctive songwriter and producer in front of us, however, a few more years on the road may be needed to find Deptford Goth’s niche in the live setting.
The Story So Far – Cockpit 15/10/13
“I’ll love you if you dive no matter what, but don’t just stand there or I’ll kick you”, asserts Parker Cannon in a rare interaction with the audience who have flocked en masse to see The Story So Far in a packed and sweaty Cockpit. He’s addressing the unrelenting swarm of individuals who seem to be using the gig to practice their somersaults in running leaps off the stage. It’s an amusing sight, but one can’t help but feel sorry for the poor sods who keep having to catch them, or not.
The Californian four-piece have been hailed as one of the, if not the most promising pop-punk bands around in recent years and they storm the stage in Leeds with a ferocity that reminds you just how great this genre of music can be. The gig is atypical of a pop-punk affair: the crowd embed themselves in a call and response affair with Cannon throughout, hurling angsty lyrics back at the singer in a frenzied passion, but The Story So Far are far from apathetic. They play with conviction, precision and relentless gusto, the only downfall of the evening being the often drawn out breaks between songs which cause the set to, at times, lose its pace.
“Right Here”, “Roam” and “The Things I Can’t Change” stand out as absolute juggernaut tracks, filling the room with the sound of a band who are staking their claim to the pop-punk throne.
Goo Goo Dolls – O2 Academy 20/10/13
For many bands a Greatest Hits album usually means an acceptance of an end to a long and fruitful career, packed with classics, ballads and possibilities of a nostalgic, PR-savvy come-back tour that any self-respecting musician could be proud of. Yet six years on and two albums later, it seems the Goo Goo Dolls still aren’t ready to give up just yet. Accompanying the release of their new album ‘Magnetic’, they are once again touring, showcasing a mix of new songs and old hits suitable for anyone with a taste for pop-rock love ballads and the odd upbeat sing-a-long.
After a warm-up from eccentric rockers Flesh For Lulu, the crowd seemed raring to go as John, Robby and Mike arrived on stage. Starting the gig with the relatively mellow ‘Last Hot Night’, a song from the new album that the crowd seemed a little less than familiar with, the Dolls interspersed new material and low-key heart-breakers with hit classics and upbeat dance-a-longs. Highlights of the night were ‘Slide’, ‘Name’ and new single ‘Come To Me’, which tended to break up the increasing monotony of what seemed like a waterfall of love ballads which formed most of the ninety minute set. The only throwbacks to their original album ‘A Boy Named Goo’ were ‘Name’ and ‘Naked’, which is also representative of the slow change in image the band has undergone. They have , it seems, moved on from young, wild grunge rockers to a slick, tight live band, with Rzeznik talking and bantering with the crowd like an old pro between songs.
Megahit ‘Iris’ was played penultimately to rapturous applause and screaming, by which point the atmosphere inside the arena was truly special. There wasn’t a soul in the building who didn’t know the words. Finishing on ‘Homecoming’, the band rounded up the night on an upbeat note which was a relief after the tirade of tear-jerkers, and the encore was well conceived too, crowning the performance with an uplifting cover of Supertramp’s ‘Give a Little Bit’ following an incredibly intimate acoustic rendition of ‘Can’t Let Go’ by Rzeznik.
Whilst the night did have its moments, and was masterfully executed by the now experienced veterans of the scene, the set would seem repetitive for fans unfamiliar with anything other than their main hits. As live performances go, Goo Goo Dolls would easily satisfy their legion of die-hard fans, however, may struggle to win over new members to their scene.