With its low ceiling and pool tables, the Brudenell Games Room captures that working men’s club vibe and it was the perfect setting for the hotly anticipated return of Beach Slang. Support came from Aerial Salad, a Manchester band with thundering guitars and screaming vocals.
There was tangible excitement in the room as Beach Slang arrived onstage. Frontman, founder and heart of the band James Alex looked quite the character in his ruffle shirt and bow tie and his friendly rapport with the audience was the highlight of the night. Alcohol, he claimed, had rendered him “wildly outgoing.” Alex’s excitement was contagious as he explained how stoked he was to be in Leeds after being inspired by The Who’s Live at Leeds performance. The frontman was a natural performer, theatrically strumming his guitar and working the crowd.
It’s rare that bands achieve such a sense of camaraderie with the crowd. Beach Slang’s previous tour managers mingled with the audience and it was clear that everybody was genuinely buzzed to be at the Philadelphia rocker’s show. Highlights came from punky singles such as ‘Punks in a Disco Bar’ and ‘Dirty Cigarettes.’ However, tracks that showcased Beach Slang’s softer side, such as ‘Porno Love,’ fell short onstage as the band struggled to contain their energy on the slower numbers.
After closing the set with the electric ‘Atom Bomb,’ Alex returned by himself to deliver a fantastic cover of The Replacement’s ‘Alex Chilton’ and fan favourite ‘Too Late to Die Young.’ The whole band arrived for an informal encore that was kick-started by an impromptu rendition of ‘Wonderwall.’
Their comic interaction with the audience grew throughout the show and after an alternative cover of a Pixies classic, Beach Slang left the stage declaring that they were truly in love with our city of Leeds.