Deap Vally – The Wardrobe (4/5)
For girls like myself who grew up idolising rock stars as opposed to popstars, it’s always nice to see women in the industry picking up instruments and flipping out on stage rather than prancing around in lingerie and high heels.
Deap Vally’s attitude laden brand of grunge alt-rock is enough to rival the likes of Hole or The Runaways and playing to a packed out room of 200 eager music snobs, the LA duo were presented with the perfect sweaty, grimy venue in which to showcase their impressive stage presence. Blasting out their popular singles ‘Gonna Make My Own Money’ and ‘End of the World’, alongside a variety of others from their 2013 debut album Sistronix, the girls proved that rock and roll is most certainly not a man’s world.
For myself (and half the crowd based on the wave of appreciative nods akin to this type of music fan) ‘Lies’ was a standout of the show. Gnarly vocals combine with a guitar-driven storm of noise in an intricate mess of lo-fi cool that, impossibly, works even better live than on record. Fiery, bolshy, and reminiscent of how I like to romantically imagine 70s glitter rock bands, the girls have completely nailed the live game and you can tell they love every minute of it.
In a similar way to 2013 darlings Haim, Deap Vally know how to work a crowd; that is, they know how to rally a crowd of shoe-gazing moustached types into the reluctant frenzy they think they’re too cool for. Ladies, for that alone, I salute you.
Nick Mulvey – Brudenell Social Club Games Room (5/5)
It’s a drizzly Wednesday evening as the expectant crowd gather in Brudenell Social Club’s games room for what is sure to be an intimate and memorable performance. For the ex-Portico Quartet member, this is an exciting point to get to; fresh from his tour supporting Laura Marling, Mulvey is on his debut headline adventure and it certainly seems like exciting things are happening for him.
From the outset, the audience is drawn into the atmospheric and hypnotic quality of his music, starting with ‘April’ from last year’s EP, The Trellis. Intricate and repetitive finger picking patterns combined with Mulvey’s rich vocal tones characterise the whole set, throughout which everyone is mesmerized by his engaging presence.
Some tracks feature utterly dactylic, narrative lyrics; “a child underneath the piano in the boom of the tingling strings, pressing the poised feet of his mother, who smiles at him as she sings, Cucurucu…” These are built around compelling textures and rhythms, infused with effective, intriguing and sometimes unchanging harmonic structures.
Mulvey’s interactions with the audience are familiar and he seems at ease, undoubtedly allowing him to fully immerse himself in the music. We are treated to a stripped back version of new single ‘Nitrous’, interwoven with tunes such as ‘Fever to the Form’, ‘Venus’ and the entrancing ‘Juramidam’. Mulvey has already shown his exceptional ability to captivate an audience with his musical presence and there is no doubt that he has a great deal more to show us. Truly stunning.
Boy George – Leeds City Varieties (3/5)
Thursday November 6 saw Boy George and his band take the stage at Leeds City Varieties for the second date in his ‘This Is What I do’ tour. The beautiful venue was perfect for the gig that Boy George himself described as intimate.
Immaculately turned out as always, sporting a pink top hat and glittery face paint, he entertained a crowd made up of dedicated and long term fans (including two who had been at previous night’s gig, coming all the way from Arizona!) with witty jokes and conversation.
Unable to call myself much of an avid Boy George fan before the show, I didn’t really know what to expect, but the reggae and blues style of much of his material delivered an 80s vibe whilst still being appealing to someone born after the tracks were produced. George’s voice was far from disappointing and, alluding to criticism made about him “becoming baritone overnight” he stated he is happy with the changes in his voice and proud of his 52 year old voice.
The gig turned into a real party despite taking place in a seated venue with almost everyone on their feet during classics including ‘Everything I Own’ and his hit with the Culture Club ‘Karma Chameleon’. Of course, Boy George and his band showcased some material from his latest album This is What I do, all of which received an excellent response, favourites being ‘King of Everything’ and ‘My Star’.
Despite any preconceptions one might have of Boy George, his music is undoubtedly fun and incredibly easy music to listen to, not to mention the musical expertise and talent that has gone into the tracks on his latest album.
photos: Mancunion, Tiegan Niery, Wow247.