The Mirandolas, Le Tournoi, Laura Groves and The Tempus Granadaland at The Love Apple, Bradford
Granadaland exits stage left after three, four years when it has become the definitive night in Bradford guitar music. Promoter Mark Husak will be moving on to another venue but this - coupled with Adam Simons stepping back from his night - suggests that the times for music in Bradford are a-changing.
For years the most interesting bands in the area have played under some interesting more well known acts but the night has become bigger than the bands and the final spot is dead weight with the increasingly popular Wave Machines playing to a half dozen not long ago while the outer room buzzed with talk and people. It had become the way.
The Mirandolas are the type of band that have been doing well at Granadaland all these years. They are locals and they play indie pop on guitar pretty fast. They are fresh faced in that way that sends your brain trying to work out what their Dad's were listening to and how it might have influenced the tunes.
Perhaps they borrow the bass from eighties tunes the heard growing up and spliced it together with some Libertines putting a dash of freshness in. The Mirandolas are a tried and tested combination and they bounce along throwing out the odd interesting hook. They are worth a second look and are well received by the appreciative ranks. Le Tournoi's William Sanderson is impressed. He calls them tight, well practiced.
Le Tournoi went through a shift about two months ago with extra guitarist Kez joining the family Sanderson and now they are the talk of Bradford - or at least the train from Bradford to Leeds on this morning - with the buzz that was generated when they burst from the bedroom returning with vigour.
They take to the stage and within seconds front man Will has shirt off - there is a shirt off theme that surrounds the band - and Kez joins him. The tunes thrust with the same unity. Christmas Eve has emerged from the early CD-Rs as a fine work and is infectious tonight.
Infectious too is the enthusiasm that emanates from the stage and for a moment I think about the first time I saw the band and how they seemed like ill fitting pieces. Today they are smooth, at ease. James on drums wears shades and a beatnik hooped shirt. Emilie oozes sexy cool and offers harmonies that add a depth to the sound, Robert's bass is stable, Kez lively standing on a chair to play guitar, Will is eccentric and during It's Only A Power Station edges into David Byrne territory of entertaining intelligence.
They are there - Le Tournoi - and if the end of Granadaland pushes them into new territory they have the power to storm it. Storm it.
If Granadaland has given us Le Tournoi as a son then it's daughter is the brilliant Laura Groves who - as she records her debut album - has a confidence grown in the over talkative atmosphere of this night. Tonight she projects forcefully taking control of her audience as she starts off with Bridges which is picked sharply and rings around the Love Apple. She laments wistfully "This is the last Granadaland. We've had some good times. We've had some bad times..."
This is one of the good times. The buzz of voices is overcome as much as it ever can be in a pub venue and this is her apprenticeship. Groves has been adding to her set over the years since her first Granadaland and augmenting her standing material. Imaginary Flights benefits from her move into album style production and has a deeper, richer sound. For a moment the song softly drifts us back to St George's Hall and her finest triumph that night.
She finishes her set with I Wish I and both song and set are perfectly formed. She is the best thing to come out from this night and - apologies to The Tempus - she closes off for event for me.
Husak will be back in September. The bands that Granadaland pushed forward are a fitting legacy for his efforts.
Le Tournoi, Pulled Apart By Horses, Fourteen Corners, The Sugars, Dinosaur Pile Up, The Debuts, Laura Groves Live At Leeds, Leeds
I'm Michael Wood and I'm late - this is why - and am stuck on a bus next to a woman who thinks you make Hummus with Yoghurt. Leeds is a traffic jam to get into and while I'm here I've missed Heads We Dance and the first half of Le Tournoi at The upstairs bit at Cockpit as the all day get in anywhere with your wrist band event begins.
Le Tournoi have dropped the old organised shambles approach to performance and put together a tighter, more focused set. The new guy Kez provides a focus - something that Bradford music gaffer Mark Husak noted as he booked them to support Lightspeed Champion in a few weeks - and everything about the band rumbles along more efficiently. They lag a few bands in the Bradford scene a little having shot out of the traps initially but they are never anything less than facinating to watch and they end this set strongly in the early heat of the under-roof in Leeds' leading venue.
A walk about downstairs for a pint and cut in front of someone at the bar. faces are familiar and a rush of people head off to Pulled Apart By Horses in the main room and I've heard good things so I head to the front only to be pushed back by the volume of a band who seem to have mistaken loud for melody, vocal acumen or even making sounds that don't sound like car crashes.
I feel disappointed cause I hoped for better and old because I'm at a gig complaining that the music is too loud and I remember hearing Nirvana in a pub in this City and they didn't have to turn everything up to eleven cause they could rock and write a bridge. I still feel old but am justified in being unimpressed.
I'm always impressed with Fourteen Corners who have a new bassist - Hi new guy - and the set of superb tunes that are a cut above almost everything else that will be heard in the City today. Josh tells us he is sweating and Luke offers the audience "It's getting hot in here", arching an impressive eyebrow, "so take off all your clothes."
The idea of Fourteen Corners master stage craft amuses me for a minute and I hear how the songs mix together better now than they did when I first saw them. I talk to Josh later and he says that he thinks Luke is ace on guitar. I like it when bands get on together and that reminds me how the Pixies used to hate each other really and how I got into a discussion with the bloke who I cut in front of at the bar about how The Pixies were not as good as Throwing Muses/Belly because they were not as honest. Fourteen Corners are honest.
The taxi driver who takes us to Brudenell Social Club is not honest and rips us off for a pound but we are just in time to see The Sugars who are a kind of throwback to a time when looking a bit like Elvis was just being fashionable and when singing "Do-Wop" into a microphone - and The Sugars use beauitful looking microphones - did not have you dubbed and dismissed as a do-wop band.
They are a smarter band than they are often given credit for and they have some tunes worth hearing - hear them at the Love Apple soon - and if you like Metric but thought they needed White Stripe levels of energy then get down to see them.
In the end the only gripe with The Sugars is that while the tall blondeness and the grease hair quiff at the front are individually good they lack chemistry in a serious way and they need to get along better.
Getting along - or rather getting - was the order of the day piling back to The Cockpit to see Dinosaur Pile Up who made a fiver taxi ride and a route march past an old work place (Lower Basinghall Street dontchaknow) worthwhile.
Dinosaur Pile Up are Matt Bigland - one time of Mother Vulpine - and a guy playing fuzzy bass and a fuzzy guy playing drums and they are brilliant. They have added three new songs to the set since last time and each one bristles brilliantly with intelligence, with guitar hum and with melody thudded between slabs of noise.
Unlike Pulled Apart By Horses The Pile Up have the control and the belief to bring vocals - My Rock n' Roll brings smiles to the face, I Get My Direction From is pure Pavement - up the mix and let the guitars thump with tunes. They are the best band on today and they show it.
They are the peak and Le Tournoi's drummer James and Tim of the Chiara L's (bloke of a work mate of mine - Hi Lisa) are equally enthused and for a minute the strands of my life push together. In a little while I will be introducing Laura Groves to a man called Greasy.
Next though are The Debuts who are a massive disappointment taking sombre to a place it should not go - disinterested - and missing the diffidence of shoegazing leaving the impression that they would rather the audience were not in the room and on that point I agreed with them.
They attempt a threaded vocal through a layer or two of guitar but fail and come over as neither interesting or energetic and no one really seems to be having much fun although the applause after each song suggests that my views are not universal. I hear myself mumble "All the songs sound the same" and remember hearing someone once say that about my favourite album.
My favourite album of this year could well be the whatever comes out of Laura Groves - and I mean that in a much nicer way that it sounds - and the Shipley singer is spellbinding tonight keeping a roomful of weary gig goers enchanted streaming lyrics around and about and pulling you into her world or trails and optimism.
She plays - in my opinion - her best ever version of Can't Sleep and pulls her soul out for Imaginary Flights. She signs one fan's single afterwards as I queue - with Greasy - to congratulate her on a great performance.
The night was not going to get any better than that so at eight I depart for Bradford happy that my Live at Leeds let me see a fist full of great acts.
Fourteencorners, My First Tooth, Le Tournoi Excel Before The Peak At All Day Hootenanny More
Written By Michael Wood Sunday, April 20th, 2008
Mark Levin, Garfunkel and Simon (Patrick Dowson), My First Tooth, Pablo's Last Stand, Kid Id, fourteencorners, Laura Groves, Le Tournoi, UltCult, The Seven Inches, The Rosie Taylor Project, Buttonhead All Day Hootenanny at 1 in 12 Club, Bradford
If I ever was to see a man playing Radiohead on a harp - see it and enjoy it - I might have predicted that it would be in the surroundings of left wing cafe serving bean burgers and vegan food to a crowd that divides it's time between band watching and knitting. The All Day Hootenanny - an ambitious split headed all dayer - was a good day and this was a suitability curious start.
Mark Levin's harp performance comes after Garfunkel & Simon - aka Patrick Dowson of Monty Casino - has titillated with a Springstein cover retitled and reformed into Born In The BRI and sets up the curious afternoon in the Library of the 1 in 12 club on Bradford's Albion Street. Having seen Radiohead in my time I can say that I enjoyed Levin's versions of their songs more than the originals and that is credit enough for any man.
There is nothing but credit for Northampton duo My First Tooth who take to the rug that makes a stage wearing matching cardigans - one of which hides Sophie's amusing t-shirt - and perform with a similar fused coordination.
The duo deserve better than to play to a handful of people but play they do with Sophie's multi-instrument performance going from violin to a long necked mandolin to a Bontempi mouth organ while the stoic Ross bends his vocals emotionally around a set of self penned, heartbreaking tunes. Sleet and Snow stands out and is delivered with perfect phrasing on the lines "Who's idea/was this Gondola ride/the cable frayed/we're plummeting."
It is emotive without being overtly emotional and fits the dynamic of the band with the youthful Sophie providing a charm next to the painfully shy Ross who would hide everything but his abilities which shine without braggadocio but with a calm confidence.
Certainly Ross shows less confidence than those in Pablo's Last Stand the two strong folk group who follow My First Tooth but do not exceed them. They are serious folk - the type of folk where one stamps a foot on the floor to keep the beat - and they are good but lack the spark of the previous act who form the highlight of the acoustic half of the day.
Downstairs we are in rockville and Kid Id are a squeezed onto stage party reminding one most readily of Madness but with a more obvious political agenda and this could make them nauseating but in truth they are a riot.
A bongo playing drummer recalls Animal from The Muppets and the Henson theme continues as Kid Id mellow out to play a stand out song called Skipping Stones which recalls Mississippi Mud and for a band who my id seemed keen to dislike I find myself beaming.
I beam when fourteencorners take to the stage. They are shy a bassist - Jim has left for the Marines recalling the Napoleonic phrase about not knowing what he will do to the enemy but he scared the Hell out of me - but have Laura Groves filling in on organ and with customary 'corners ability they master the muddy sound set up to come over as clear as any band will today and more so than most bands will in their gigging career.
I think for a moment about how the ability of drummer Marco Pasquariello especially but also Josh Taylor and Luke Silcock to get the band sounding good when playing in venues of varied qualities may be the decisive factor in my belief that they are West Yorkshires's finest hidden gem. Certainly that skill augments their desire to play cleanly sung, intelligent lyrics over crisp guitars and as with The Lodger one is amazed that this county offers up bands like The Pigeons or Kaisers above them.
Tsotsumi has been dropped from the set but The Walk Home continues to sound better and better with Groves keyboard straining background and Pasquariello's softer touch of drumming. We Are Pathetic! We Are Stars! is Silcock's chance to show finger work on an acoustic that makes one glad one never had to play Subutteo against him and in the centre is Taylor who's heart bleeding on sleeve lyrics and determined certitude create the focal point. Few songs on my Walkman get as many plays as New Limbs For Old Flames - in fact my Last.FM says that none do - and that is the mark of this band.
The mark of Le Tournoi is an inconstancy between a disorganised discord and something that touches on genius and as afternoon begins to fade into evening they are very much the latter having been augmented by the livewire antics of Keiron Casey on guitar the family Sanderson plus one are on form and when on form there are few better.
They are a Scooby gang of a band. Kieron's ebullience seems him leap from the stage to grab a pint, Robert on bass is calm and centred taking vocals at one point for a Neil Young cover - "I can't sing" he intones - while James on drums has praise heaped on him by the previous band's sticksman Marco Pasquariello and pounds the band on.
Emilie - effortlessly cool - streams melody from her keyboard and pitches vocals high augmenting William who continues to grow as a guitarist and songwriter playing newer songs that are richer than the back catalogue that is dipped into with It's Only a Power Station sounding especially full and while many bands group together through likeness the five members of Le Tournoi seem to be a desperate as could be.
The difference is heard in the music and when it goes right - and it does - it creates drive, snappy, intelligent tunes. There is a new drive in demeanour of Le Tournoi - a determination to push things on - and there is a randomness of how far that could go. Tonight they are enthralling and recapture the excitement that saw them catapulted from bedroom band to Bradford's most talked about act. More of tonight in their support slot at St Georges Hall with Lightspeed Champion could see them seize attention.
Coming off the back of such a support slot are UltCult who are a shadow of the band that played only a few days ago struggling with sound problems and having dropped the most interesting song from their set. They will have better days than this one hopes.
Sounding great are Leeds band The Seven Inches who take the stage with lead singer Ian looking rather like Klinger from M*A*S*H with only my Grandmother's wardrobe to choose from and he is annoying in that punch him way but memorable too and should the band be aiming for distinction in a sea of similar acts around the scene then they achieve it with Ian strumming a paper guitar, bouncing around the room and generally giddying it up.
The songs are strong with Our Type Of Friends (title? - mw) standing out amid a general collection of good pop tunes which do not out stay their welcome with the exception of a lyric about Tom & Jerry which returns to the wanting to punch style of sticking in the mind and at that point one has to wonder if people said exactly the same thing about David Byrne when Talking Heads used to perform and it never did that band any harm.
Not able to do themselves much harm at The Rosie Taylor Project who's inexorable rise continues regardless of a distinct lack of memorability to their songs. They are a serious and sombre act and may be perfect on a mellowed out summer's evening but they do not stick in the memory on a dark night in Bradford.
They play through a set and they seem very in control but they lack the ironic smile of the better Tweecore bands. Buttonhead are twee without the lyrical smarts and after forty-five minutes of tuning up momentum drifts away into the night. They shriek, they need more melody they are easy to break away from, and so I do.
William Sanderson of Le Tournoi Remembers The First Time #1 More
Written By Michael Wood Wednesday, August 29th, 2007
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The First Time - West Yorkshire Music People Talk About Stuff
Along with any number of brothers, sisters and various other associates William Sanderson's Le Tournoi impress with thoughtful and curiously amusing songs described by some as Modern Folk, others as Joy Division-esque and most as impressive.
The first record bought with your own money?
Embarrassing because its so cliche. I think it was Chesney Hawkes The One and Only from when Morrisons used to sell vinyl. It was that or the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles theme.
Hmm... Just realised that was unlikely with my own money unless I was hustling from a very early age. I bought the first big Bluetones single on tape. It has the word "solution" in the chorus, a key indie word time at the time because it rhymed with "revolution". Oh boy.
The first gig
Rios in 2001 I think. We were a terrible/fantastic punk band called The Inspectors. It went okay I suppose, we didn't mess up our already pretty messed up songs.
I was probably nervous but I can't really remember to be honest. I struggle to remember feelings - wow, what an emotional statement.
However I'm really good at remembering what people say to me and I'm clearly quite proud of this fact.
The Inspectors are reforming for the next "Wollen Wig Out" at the Beehive later this year. Good heavens.
The first Le Tournoi gig went okay, though I was playing my electric which has an odd ability to sound like an elephant. For some reason I'm thinking of using this guitar again for our next gig, maybe I should rethink this.
Actually I remember how I felt after this gig: weird.
That's what happens when you play to a room mostly populated with friends, it's hard to grasp whether you sounded good or awful.
The first bit of fan mail
Does MySpace count? No, I don't think it should.
No ones ever sent me a written letter telling me how great a musician I am, mainly because I'm no Beethoven and sadly I don't hand my address out all that often. If I do wake up one day to find myself a great musical talent, I'll make sure I immediately start giving out business cards with my home address on them.
fourteencorners, Le Tournoi at PM Bar, Shipley
William from Le Tournoi is not happy with his set. "It was awful", he intones afterwards, "It was not good."There is a aura in PM Bar in Shipley that seems to scream teenage birthday party. The split of the room, the way the age groups follow that, the smokeless air of a post July 2007 pub for a while one looks around for something to wrap up and give as a present in case the birthday girl arrives. She never does but a guy who looks a lot like Shakin' Stevens soulfully sits in the corner and leaves before the bands come on.
Le Tournoi will not be pleased with the set that starts with two muted bangs of a microphone and they struggle to project through the room. The family Sanderson are the curio of Bradford's music scene and are rough edged parts of jigsaws pushed together in a way that makes pleasing and often amusing shapes. The more powerful melodies of Christmas Eve sound excellent tonight but Some Murder Perhaps is lost in the balance as lyrical subtleties are lost.
William is not pleased and certainly Le Tournoi have less impact that when last they were seen but the lack of shine is easily and often a facet of the band and they are no worse for it. Most of these songs will be played better than they were tonight but the randomness is a part of the charm and there is much charm.
If fourteencorners do not have the charm of Le Tournoi - and some may successful argue they do - they make up for it with a technical excellent which sees their sound project throughout the room tonight. They effortlessly run through We Are Pathetic! We Are Stars! and pour passion into The Walk Home and if this gig is a warm up for the Piece Hall in Halifax this weekend then they are definitely warm.
William Sanderson of Le Tournoi – Five Box Set #1 More
Written By Michael Wood Wednesday, June 13th, 2007
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Five Box Set - West Yorkshire Music People Talk About Their Favourite Albums
Along with any number of brothers, sisters and associates William Sanderson's Le Tournoi impress with thoughtful and curiously amusing songs described by some as Modern Folk, others as Joy Division-esque and most as impressive.
William's three favourite albums
This question is next to impossible to answer because I know my answer tomorrow would probably be completely different. I'll try and go with obvious ones.
Jens Lekman - self released EP Four perfect songs: Tram #7 to heaven, Maple Leaves, Black Cab, At The Dept. of Forgotten Songs. Each individual song has more character than most entire albums. Words don't do justice to "shit" good.
The Shins - Oh Inverted World This album is pop rock perfection. With many albums there are obvious weak aspects but here its 100% "Why couldn't I have written that, the brilliant bar-raising motherfuckers".
The lyrics are layered with metaphors and wordplay without seeming pompous. The melodies are beautiful and despite playing this record over and over and over again, I am yet to get the slightest bit bored with a single track. To top things off it was recorded with a 70 quid microphone. Damn them, damn them.
Jay-Z - Blueprint An album with one theme, how good Jay-Z is. It's so pretentious it's not pretentious anymore.
William's favourite on the scene
Laura Groves and Fourteen Corners are pretty darn great. Neither have an album out yet, but I have the majority of their songs on mp3. I don't want to hear their albums because I want to hear higher quality recordings of their songs, but because I want them to take the attention away from the masses of signed bands that aren't as good.
I generally only like bands I am friends with - hahaha - it's a terrible habit that I have no plans on shaking.
I also have an unhealthy, mostly unwarranted, hatred for anything to do with the city of Leeds. So if a band is from there or does that horribly comical thing of pretending they are from there I struggle to give them chance.
William on "The Best Album Ever"
Queen - Greatest Hits II A party isn't a party without it. It's a Hard Life, Under Pressure oh yes! Not even Innuendo can spoil the party.
William Sanderson of Le Tournoi – This Is Cinerama #1 More
Written By Michael Wood Tuesday, June 12th, 2007
This Is Cinerama - West Yorkshire Music People Talk About Their Favourite Movies
Along with any number of brothers, sisters and associates William Sanderson's Le Tournoi impress with thoughtful and curiously amusing songs described by some as Modern Folk, others as Joy Division-esque and most as impressive.
William's three favourite movies
Dolemite Honky destroying lover man, overweight and not very good at kung-fu.
With lines like "if you ever see a ghost, cut the motherfucker". This film is terrible. Ha Ha. For the last forty minutes of this film it's impossible to know exactly what's going on.
Casablanca This film is quite the opposite of Dolemite, in the sense that it's really good.
Dolemite 2: The Human Tornado For the same reasons as number one. This one features the "unforgettable apple scene" where Dolemite, upon arriving in California buys an apple and through the medium of voice over we are allowed into the mind of Dolemite to see what he's thinking:
I hope the girls in California are as good as this apple
Never has a single sentence summed up someone so perfectly before (I'm violently exaggerating).
William in the movies
I empathise with the "Hamburger Pimp" from the first Dolemite. He died before we ever got to know him.
I also have a lot of empathy for James Bond. That's not true. I have a lot of time for Chris in the Sopranos. That most definitely is true.
William Sanderson: The bio-pic
It would be an art house film where not a great deal of things happen, probably called "That Didn't Happen, Did It?"
My dog Meg could play herself, she's acted before and she's pretty good. I'd like to be all CGI apart from my mouth. Charles Bronson to direct through the medium of Ouija board.
The Lodger, Laura Groves, Le Tournoi Granadaland at The Love Apple, Bradford
I'll ruin the surprise ending: This one ends happily.
If you ever read Dalliance before you will know how convinced I am to the Laura Groves cause, that I think Le Tournoi have something about them and how impressive The Lodger were supporting The Long Blondes earlier this year.
All three on one bill, on a sunny evening, after a day off, at The Love Apple, on a night named after a Wedding Present song. I'll ruin the surprise: This one ends happily.
Something seems to have happened with Le Tournoi who open the evening sans trumpet section but with more of a controlled presence than they have shown previously. The word polish is thankfully never to be applied to the joie de vivre that the Bradford four piece bring to the stage. Where previously Le Tournoi were an explosion of raw ideas now they are showing signs of focus.
Trees early in the set starts a tempo which is maintains as they bash through a collection of ninety seconds songs that are rapidly fitting together into a rather impressive package. Christmas Eve and I Was A Victim Of A Series Of Accidents, As Are We All regretfully fall from the set but perhaps as a result everything is tighter and everything works.
Vocals and guitar William Sanderson carrys on an easy charm joking with the front rows of an unusually full Love Apple looking every inch nerd cool in contrast to the prim prom dress of keyboards and vocals Emilie who offs heels to perform and sturdy Rob on Bass. Le Tournoi are jagged pieces put together into strange and interesting shapes.
These shapes press though into the lyrics - "And when the night begins/The moon will illuminate everything/The trees are closing in/Or So It seems" entertains with lyrical painting using darker palette colours. Some Murder Perhaps offers "Hopes dashed anew everyday/I'm reading the paper to find something new and refreshing/Some murder perhaps". Le Tournoi are short spiky songs about interesting things and dubbed Modern Folk meets Joy Division but my interest is sparked with comparisons escape me and when to finish the set off William embarks on six or seven cords of almost Hendrix-esque guitarmanship - or at least some kind of twang based heroics which was hitherto not hinted at - then I give up searching for something to complete my "Folk done by The Ramones" observations and join the hurrahs.
What can I say about Laura Groves which I have not before? A set that I never tire of, a voice that belays her size and so on and soon one is going towards words like Elfin which I steadfastly refuse to use.
Tonight was the first time Groves has stamped my hand on the way in and the first outing for new song Does Anyone Love Me Now which sits alongside the delights of Coast, Imaginary Flights and Can't Sleep which all blend through the darkening night air. She mentions that Bridges which appears on on anti-torture compilation Fifty Minutes and gives that a plug so I shall too.
Any plaudits that come her way she is worth.
Granadaland's twilight zone comes when the local heroes finish. The Lodger face the often apathetic and frequently far off rows of The Love Apple with a confidence. The Lodger have been playing venues like this for two or three too many years and have seen a couple of bands with a couple of less pints of talent go a bit further. Put this down to the fact that the stompalongs that populate the sets of Leeds lad rock peers like Kaiser Chiefs and The Cribs are replaced by an intelligent set of pop songs that fit perfectly with vocal and guitar Ben Siddall's roots as a bedsit musician.
Without wanting to shortcut the process Siddall is Morrissey and Marr. He is a guy who can write a bittersweet romantic lyric like "Our parents will stay together/And our last dance will last forever." and play then play the jangling Strangeway Here We Come guitar to go with it.
Unsatisfied is all urban paranoia and alternation with a fading melodic lilt, Kicking Sand is melancholic resignation to a furious pop beat. The drummer Katie seems to be - well - older and more of a bloke than last time. Joe The Bass has two go faster stripes on his guitar which may or may not be ironic but see him keep the pace fast with his plucking. It is very impressive to people of a certain disposition.
Those people would seem to be out in reasonable force and The Lodger maintain a healthy focus from the often drifting Love Apple audience. "I never thought I'd say this," Siddall comments, "But could you come forward a step or two."
And people do which is always a good sign and a guy in a Clash t-shirt goes crazy in all the right places and Siddall's guitar drives the self-effacing lyrics on. Stand out track comes at the conclusion of the set after the plug for long time gestated album Grown Ups in Many Thanks For Your Honest Opinion which paces through the most Smithsian chorus since 1987 and The Lodger leave a room impressed.
Me, I'm happy.
The Woollen Wig Out Festival More
Written By Michael Wood Sunday, April 8th, 2007
fourteencorners, Laura Groves, Le Tournoi, That Fucking Tank, David Broad, Serious Sam Barrett, Harmacy The Woollen Wig Out Festival at The New Beehive, Bradford
Hope is a wonderful emotion and not easily spoiled. Hope had sprung eternal minutes before the doors opened for the Woollen Wig Out Festival and in the corner bottom corner of Bradford near Lumb Lane and opposite the real best restaurant in the City soaking up the early sun it seemed that hope was in the air for all.
The Woollen Wig Out Festival had a wonderful organised shambles quality to it which probably proved its undoing later in the day but listening to Monty Casino kicking off half an hour late it and seeing the fresh faced kids picking up guitars and hammering out something loud and spiky on them it seemed entirely appropriate and in keeping with the mood in the air.
Mood is never more lifted than when listening to the incomparable fourteencorners. On early to allow the band to make a rapid exit for bassist James's mum's birthday tea kept up their own stupidly high quality. Everything is balanced on the right line of precision and roughness and this late afternoon New Limbs For Old Flame in its speeded up live version is superb and blends pauselessly into The Drive Home so we don't have to applaud at the end of the first one we are told. "You don't have to applaud at the end of the second one if you don't want" singer Josh adds in what is increasingly false modesty. Everyone who sees them stands impressed. Everyone who sees them has high hopes for their future.
Le Tournoi I didn't get last time I saw them but today in these surroundings everything clicked into place and I was won over. They are, in their own rough edged way, the bravest and most innovative band around West Yorkshire at the moment with innovation not measured on a scale of strange beeps but on short, spiked pop pieces.
They are Magnetic Fields signed to Sarah Records band with all the wonderfully haphazard elements that suggestions. William has the kind of intelligentsia hip that justifies the excellent I was a victim of a series of accidents, as are we all which buzzes around the cellar bar so utterly pleasantly while Emilie oozes cool and makes things sound melodic. I still struggle to hear the sounds of - or be won over by the usefulness of a - saxophone player but like the violins on old Blueboy records if it works why knock it and something about Le Tournoi works really well.
Also working well is David Broad who's fedora and suit age him twenty years as he rips through a foot tapping bluegrass set almost all of which is entirely new to me but feels well worn and wonderfully comfortable. St James Infirmary wins me over for good and I'm not alone in making mental notes to take more interest in him, and probably in bluegrass, beyond the White Stripes.
It would be hard to take more interest in Laura Groves who seems to be on the bill at every other gig I see but tonight I end up saying Hello to her Mum - she is nervous and can't watch - and standing behind to her sister - she is short and I get a great view. If hope is in the air then Laura Groves conducts it. Her voice-as-instrument melodies and picked out guitar sounds are never far from familiar but sound unlike anything else. "Suzanne Vega" someone says, miles wide of the mark, "Joanna Newsome" someone else comments but Joanna Newsome never sung about Filey as the always wonderful Coast is and perhaps that is what is so enchanting about the Shipley born singer/songwriter. Her uniqueness comes from growing up near the Shipley Glen Tramway not the Palm Springs Aerial. Perhaps she is as much a product of the area as riots or superb Chicken Pathia or Rugby League. She is fabric.
The need for superb Chicken Pathia takes over and The Hipshakers could be the greatest band ever but I've gone to eat. Next time I hope.
Kill Manticore are noisy boys and trash at guitars as if they have done something wrong. They stomp well and effectively and show the breadth of acceptance of the music scene in West Yorkshire at the moment.
Later in the night Serious Sam Barrett and David Broad will be sitting on two beer barrels deep in conversation and when Barrett takes to stage it is not hard to see why. Both are cut from the same cloth and both are are equally enjoyable pitching perfectly for place and people. Barrett's mic fails and in an hours time technical problems are going to boil over but he Serious Sam plays on and is applauded for it.
That Fucking Tank suffer the same technical problems but create a hell of a racket. By the time Harmacy come on the mics are failing and vocals sound as if they are sung from deep underground. Steve Albini would have loved the sound of Harmacy ala Seamonsters but after one song someone takes exception and a scuffle breaks out. Everything gets very strange and the end is no reflection of the day nor is it a reward for the work that went into it. It is sour but does nothing to dampen the mood. I head for the door but I hope - I hope - that we get to do this again sometime.
The Views Are Still Astounding More
Written By Michael Wood Friday, March 30th, 2007
fourteencorners, White Light Parade, Le Tournoi, Kubera Granadaland at The Love Apple, Bradford
"The views are still astounding though, even without the smoke."
This is the second time in five days that I've seen harder than most rockers Kubera and they are growing on me in a conspiratorial way. They are louder than the Love Apple and it is not hard to see why they get mentioned in The Gasworks but they are amusing and kick this night of four off with energy. The lead singer wears a dressing gown and swears less than last week but my mate who also saw both and thinks that music is music when the amp is turned up bops along and that is good enough for me.
She was not bopping away to the altogether more melodic Le Tournoi who swim between the tweeness of a Sarah Band and something more Steve Albini produced. The view down one of many futures Le Tournoi are a young version of Cinerama circa Torino putting out intelligent pop with a warm tinge, down another they are Heavenly, Blueboy or The Field Mice making smart music for a small band of devotees.
Taaryn's sax is lost in the mixing desk which is a shame but not as bad as the band's unending need to suppressing William and Emilie's intelligent vocals. Le Tournoi are still a work in progress and there is a chance that that work is going to be blistering and blinding and brilliant.
Already dubbed blistering and blinding and brilliant are White Light Parade who - in common with a lot of bands around the City at the moment - are destined for bigger. Tonight they are second on the bill to fourteencorners cause Danny Yates wants to get plastered after they finish and strut the stage with the swagger of an fantastically arrogant band. They aim for The Clash and come over as The Libertines but that is no bad thing. Wait For The Weekend is anthemic, When The Lights Go Down memorable. Bigger things, more record sales, downloads, bigger venues. All that stuff await and White Light Parade will stand alongside The View and probably be lots and lots of people's second favourite band.
Which sounds like a criticism and is not supposed to - the kids lap them up after all - but for all the energy of White Light Parade they are treading a familiar path. They tread it well but the smoke and mirrors of media interest might just mask a bunch of talent lads being put on a three month release cycle with the likes of those scamps from Dundee.
There is no familiar path for fourteencorners who open with a stripped down Small Northern Town and go through five perfectly formed numbers with confidence. Tsotumi sounds better than it ever has done and bursts the stage after Josh's picking through SNT. The increasingly absurdly tall Luke takes flight on We Are Pathetic! We Are Stars! scraping guitar strings and backing with a power call - "So, Come On" never sounded so good.
Nor have fourteencorners - or so is the consensus in an increasingly growing crowd who all seem to know the Larry David samples missing from the live set - who reminisce in sound on The Wedding Present, on Billy Bragg, on Grant Lee Buffalo while having a set of songs that demand attention. They close with New Limbs For Old Flames which would seem to make sense further up the order but while notes fall out of place the impression is that fourteencorners are a band to love not like and that there is no smoke and mirrors and that the view really is astounding.