Something Worth Seeing
Written By Michael Wood Monday, April 30th, 2007
Harmacy, Falconetti at The Delius, Bradford
The view from the bar side of “Bradford’s Leading Indie Pub” The Delius is never perfect but tonight - after two failed attempts - I was finally going to see the city’s foremost scenesters Harmacy and if this meant peering around speakers it would be worth it.
"Last gig we ended in a fight", lead guitar and singer of Harmacy Haydn Wilcox says referring the set ending brawl of the Woolen Wig Out festival of three weeks ago, "No one start anything now." Before that at Fagin’s in Halifax the locals had nixed the night complaining about the sound. Tonight it seemed unlikely that anyone would stop me seeing Bradford's proclaimed kings of slack and roll.
First though for visuals actually seeing Halifax four-piece Falconetti is not important. Appropriately they take to the stage as light from outside fades and the create a mood all East Berlin spy novels, all soundtracks to fifties thrillers. Close your eyes and see long shadows in contrasting deep blacks and bleached out whites. Should any Hollywood producer have spent the night in this part of Bradford the search would be over. Falconetti are the smallest epic band you will ever see. Neil Heywood’s trumpet twists around creating atmosphere and Matt Fortune’s drums set a pace for carrying around microfilm whilst being followed.
Evocative? I should say so. Falconetti seem to be a taste worth acquiring.
Without vocals Falconetti do not suffer, as Harmacy do, from the perennial Delius problem of vocal projections. Dom the soundman manfully struggles to balance the vocals of Harmacy’s Haydn and Chris but they are under the haze of guitar fuzz.
Seeing Harmacy it becomes clear that there is something about Haydn’s Black Francis referencing guitar which blends surf joyousness with Chris Wall’s throbbing bass lines and for a while – and through the inspired Girl From Chile and the well received On The Waves – they fill every inch of the slack and roll label they are so often given. Something less slack more attack drifts into newer songs and Chris’s bass is more Gang of Four than 4AD.
On occasion something else shines out of the Bradford trio’s song writing. A sense of social justice not there in the bands they simply sound like and seems to seep through to all their songs. Black Francis never sang about the things Ken Loach makes films about.
So on seeing Harmacy it would seem that that is the attraction of the band so often cited as leading this Bradford scene. For sure they have grown up with jangling American guitars of The Pixies or the powerful bass lines of Peter Hook but it is reflected through a prism of growing up in this City in these times into a sound that is ultimately very Northern town post Thatcher, very give me a chance to have aspiration, very look after yourself cause no one else look after you, very Bradford.
And that is very much worth seeing.