Mom Jeans playing the Brudenell Social Club was, in many ways, a perfect microcosm of the ways that music creates communities and connections that transcend generational or geographic divides. Not only was there a Californian band with an adoring and dedicated fan base here in Leeds, but we learned that Brude had previously hosted lead vocalist Eric Butler’s dad’s favourite band.
Musically, Mom Jeans were very much par for the course of the emo rock genre. In many ways, though, that is almost the point. Bands like these, whose lyrics encapsulate the worldview and problems of their disaffected fans, do not usually sound as refined or polished as bands with a more conventionally appealing sound. The point is, though, the abandonment of these norms in exchange for a stronger sense of familiarity and camaraderie with fans is the modus operandi of Mom Jeans – and it works spectacularly for them.
The invitation of the singer from a previous band onto the stage, or the genuinity with which bassist Gabriel Paganin approached his mid-gig joke-telling interlude are the kinds of touches that make decent gigs far more memorable. The jokes were, of course, unpolished and slightly ad hoc whilst the addition of a last minute band member probably was not great for the sound quality. As with much of what Mom Jeans do, though, that is the point.
The most valuable element of this gig, then, is how it illustrated the inimitable value of small venues that foster these kinds of connections between musicians and audiences. Alongside support acts Just Friends and Don’t Worry, every band that played felt like a group of friends playing to a room of other friends, and the night was immeasurably better for it.
Header image via Quaid Lagan