Har Mar Superstar – Brudenell Social Club (5/5)
Har Mar Superstar, an R&B singer-songwriter and legend of Minnesota, is well known for his sexy and confident stage presence. Having released 5 albums over the course of 13 years, he has never failed to provide listeners with groovy, funky and yet always fashionable dance floor hits.
The crowd were sent into a wild frenzy as Sean Tillmann (Har Mar Superstar) entered the stage wearing a luminous golden cape underneath his leather jacket. “It’s a saturday night, how about some f***ing celebration?” inquired the incontestable star of the night, and the throng roared in response.
The show started off with several disco anthems from his latest ‘Bye Bye 17’ including such nifty gems as ‘Prisoner’ and ‘Lady, You Shot Me’. The venue turned into a vast dance floor. Continuing in this fashion, Har Mar proceeded to take his top off to reveal his chubby yet utterly gorgeous body proclaiming – “you guys look like a T-shirt buying audience. I like you!” and dived into the crowd who were eager to grab a piece of the famous sex symbol. On his way back to the stage, the superstar made out with a random girl, climbed back up, winked at her and whispered “I’ll see you later”. But that was hardly a start as Har Mar Superstar proceeded to amuse the crowd with his golden voice combined with some baller dance moves. After singing ‘Body Request’ whist standing upside down, he attempted to leave the stage, but the audience were clearly not ready to accept such a thing. Thus, Har Mar returned to the crowd and asked to pick a song. “’E-Z pass’? I f***ing hate that song, youguys are d**ks” he responded jokingly, ripped his pants off and started to form unbelievably sexy and neat grooves. Oh what a night.
Imagine Dragons – O2 Academy (4/5)
There is an anticipatory atmosphere as the crowd wait for Imagine Dragons to come to the stage. With a five year history, Imagine Dragons have certainly paid their dues in the industry, and their recent rise to fame, alongside the release of their album – Night Visions, has only continued to add to their newly found famed status. This includes the band’s nomination for ‘Best Rock Video’ at the 2012 MTV VMA and their huge chart success.
Reynolds (lead singer) has an immediate rapport with the crowd. The band’s rhythmic, pumping and anthematic sound, blasting a mix of genres from alternative rock to folk and indie rock captivates the audience, especially when they play album favourites including ‘It’s Time’ and ‘On top of the World.’
The band informs the audience of an exclusive surprise for Leeds only. This leads to an epic performance of Nirvana’s ‘Smells like Teen Spirit,’ that gives rise to a fantastic guitar solo from Wayne Sermon and has the crowd fully involved.
Despite their massive success, the band is humble and appreciative for the support at O2 Academy. Imagine Dragons are there for the merit of music and the honesty that comes with it.
The crowd is silenced when Reynolds introduces their song in honour of their friend Tyler Robinson, a young man of 17 who was battling with cancer. This sombre tone adds another dimension to the gig experience and shows off the lead singer’s unique voice.
A fantastic night and a brilliant set, Imagine Dragons have a bright future ahead, and it’s a very exciting time to see what they’ll bring to the table in the near future.
Turin Brakes – The Cockpit (4/5)
“Thanks for choosing us over Stereophonics,” quips Turin Brakes’ bassist Eddy Myer to the assembled throng at The Cockpit tonight. “We feel special…” 8 albums down the line, the indie-folk band from Balham are here to recreate the considerable success they’ve had over the past 14 years, promising songs off new album We Were Here alongside some old classics. And they give Stereophonics a run for their money in the process, of course.
The acoustic guitar led tunes have a hypnotic, campfire-song quality, with melodies intertwining effortlessly – the gentle fingerpicking on 2003’s ‘Rain City’, matched by singer Ollie Knights’ pitch-perfect vocals, is a fine example. So far, it’s all very pleasant and serene. Music to drive home from work to.
They kick it up a notch at the half way mark; one punter inevitably requests ‘Painkiller’ and the band dutifully launch into the fans’ favourite. The buoyant riff injects some much-needed energy into the set and Turin Brakes suddenly come alive, with Knights’ vocals becoming more incandescent as the song progresses. From then on it is a spirited venture through their back catalogue. The rockier elements of Turin Brakes’ sound coming to the fore during ‘Sea Change’, whilst set highlight (and oldest song) ‘Underdog’ is pulled off with as much panache as you would expect after 14 years of touring together.
The band maintains an excellent rapport with the audience throughout, and the fact it is an older crowd has the added bonus of there not being hundreds of iPhones waving in the air. They even indulge in a second encore. Although there is a definite lack of energy at the start of the set, Turin Brakes do eventually pick up the pace, and everyone’s faith in the band is rewarded by the end.
photos: Houselist, Midcoaststation & Vimeo