Tall Ships - Live In Leeds - By Volume

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Tall Ships – Live In Leeds

Tall Ships, Dad Rocks! and Beware Wolf at Leeds’ Brudenell Social Club

Author: on October 23, 2012
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Not so long ago, our own Jeff Goodwin wrote about Tall Ships’ apparent live show in his review of their new album, praising their energy and the way that they manage to recreate an invigorating and layered soundscape with just three people. It should suffice to say that when I learnt the band were coming to the Brudenell Social Club in Leeds for the first leg of their new post-Everything Touching tour, I played “Gallop” five times in half an hour. Such frenzied appreciation is the norm where Tall Ships are concerned – they have a very loyal and very, very vocal fanbase across this island – and it’s as deserved as it is infectious.

Brudenell Social Club

A word, first, on the venue: Brudenell Social Club is sublime. It’s unassuming, weirdly laid-out and clearly can’t decide what it wants to be, which is 90% of its charm; on arriving, there was a faint buzz about the place, but by the time that openers Beware Wolf took the stage there was a healthy atmosphere in the room.

Beware Wolf play a strange brand of somewhat juvenile math-rock, where juvenile is not intended as an insult but as an outright compliment. Rhythmic stop-starts and post-punk textures snapped round the audience, and although the Bradford-based trio lacked precision, they compensated for it with youthful ambition and a willingness to take their songs to unexpected places both structurally and sonically. Sometimes it worked, and others it didn’t, but it was a fitting start to an evening which would be closed out by masters of the trade they claim membership of as apprentices.

Main support Dad Rocks! are a Danish folk-pop trio (rules of three tonight, folks) with a double bass, a vocalist, and Ben Gibbard as guitarist and songwriter. Not really. I’m pretty sure it was him, though – Snaevar Albertsson has a gorgeous Gibbard-esque tone to his voice and a beautiful colour to his lyrics to seal the deal. Their sound is simple but elegant, making usually good use of harmonies, and though there were some tuning issues in some of the backing vocals, it was a thoroughly excellent set which left the room quiet and somewhat in awe.

That didn’t last, though, when Tall Ships took to the stage. Bursting into noise with the loud, razor-sharp “T=0”, they thundered away the night’s other acts with some force, and a fixated crowd was hooked in even further. Mr Goodwin was right; though it was less frantic on the small Brudenell stage than he had described, these guys swivel and swoop to make glorious noise out of every little opportunity, kicking static into the melodies and melodies into the energy and energy into everything else.

By the time they closed with the stellar “Chemistry”, my ears were ringing with the loops and the riffs and the gorgeous wall of sound that three guys from Brighton had succeeded in crafting. They returned for a brief encore and thanked the excellent crowd – you couldn’t hear for the chants in “Chemistry” – for their attention. I could put this any number of ways, but Everything Touching’s title does it on its own.

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