Blue Roses arrive leaving memories and feeling More

Live Review

Written By Michael Wood Friday, May 1st, 2009

Fourteen Corners, Jeremy Warmsley and Blue Roses Blue Roses Album Launch Night at Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

Something is wrong with Fourteen Corners. The usual chime of note perfection is failing West Yorkshire's leading band - here in Leeds's Brudenell Social Club as second support at the Blue Roses album launch - is lacking and Luke Silcock's guitar stumbles with a harsh twang through the opening We Are Pathetic, We Are Stars and stutters into The Walk Home.

None of this would be rare for most but Corners can pride themselves - should pride themselves - of getting the best sound in whichever arena they play be it pub or concert hall or strange mix of the two as Brudenell Social Club. One half expects to have a meat draw between songs or bingo numbers called but this Working Men's Club setting is the home of the non-workers, the students, of Leeds now. A mile or so away from the City Centre I muse for a moment on how this gig would have suited the long dead Duchess of York on Vicar Lane, Leeds. That is now a Hugo Boss shop.

By the time the second tune concludes Silcock's guitar has been tamed and Corners are back to the limitless wonders of the Bradford Music Scene which produce the main act tonight. Josh Taylor's vocals are sung with an unoften heard confidence but never with arrogance and they are layered over a set of melodies and tunes as distinctive from one another as the words that are delivered. Mike Wilson's bass and Marco Pasquaiello drums are pulse with an anticipation. One worries that the time for this band has come and gone and that they will leave behind memories of gigs and of tunes but no work and no album to march on as a memento of the excellence.

May The Days Be Aimless hows with a longing - "I know somethings wrong/Hold on now" - and I'm suddenly recasting Corners on the stage where fifteen months ago Okkervil River burst into my consciousness as that kind of spirited storyteller. The set continues and Silcock is back at million mile an hour fingering on his awakened guitar which drops as Taylor intones "To have no is to live without."

Fourteen Corners add another new song which tips hats to Aztec Camera and Prefab Sprout and I'm struck by how many times I've heard musicians - good ones too - mumble about how the set up and the sound was wrong and how that is never the case with this collective who master the environment they play in. They finish the set with New Limbs for Old Flames and I doubt I will see a better band tonight or during these three days of Live in Leeds which turns out to be a prediction out by just one.

Second on Jeremy Warmsley proudly announces that he had Blue Roses's Laura Groves supporting her in what was the singer's first gig and I hear my Dad's voice drifting into my cerebrum pointing out that he did the sound at the King's Arms in Bradford for her before then. It is a measure of cultural size when one's parents have heard of the thing you like. Former The Letters and current The Hobbes Fanclub guitarist Leon Carroll confirms that his Dad was also impressed that someone his band had the vaguest connection too (Blue Roses producer Marco Pasquaiello did the sound at The Letters gigs) was being reviewed in the Time and the Observer.

Warmsley hits feedback in his first song. He is acoustic and mellow making the kind of observations on life that would be on Jarvis Cocker's Twitter account and not his albums. His voice recalls Rufus Wainwright but his songs have the importance of everything The Lightning Seeds did that was not The Nearly Man which is not to say he was not good just that he was not weighty which in itself could have charm but tonight does not seem to. Perhaps it is the between song stories which paint him in an ill light or perhaps it is the fact that he falls a little too easily into Geek Chic to not do so consciously.

All that said he enjoys a couplet or two but "If he breaks your heart/I'll brakes his legs" rings hollow. Perhaps it is a stab at irony but too often irony masks a lack of truth and honesty of emotion is everything in song writing - or at least it is to me.

It was that honesty that interested me when I first heard Laura Groves - now Blue Roses - play her songs about Filey and the curved road down to Shipley station. Not the proximity or the fidelity to events but rather the resonance with a life I could empathise with. At the end of 2006 people I recall her voice standing out amongst the likes of The Streets and thinking that hers was the language of dreaming rather than urban nightmares and the broken down mundane.

Taking to the middle of the Brudenell stage Laura there is an air of anticipation. She is joined by Hannah Tidewell on violin and in front off the stage a small sit in has emerged - cross legged and ready for story time - which I join. I feel a burst of near paternal pride. This thing which I have evangelised to all who would hear is about to be shared. I gather thoughts for a moment now on how lucky I have been to catalogue this emergence - although that has been fortunate - but on how much pleasure every trip to The Love Apple or to Fagins, to St George's Hall or around Leeds last year watching this extraordinary performer has brought me.

And so into Greatest Thoughts and their is a silence and an appreciation for some but me I can see the evidence of metamorphosis. I feel I have watched for sometime but cannot tell you when the 21 year old Laura became this performer of depth and range and personality and confidence. These things where there for sure but when did they eclipse? When did they converge? I have watched the progression but I could not tell you when the shoulder became the neck nor when the arm became the wrist. At what point the girl from Shipley on the guitar became a performer of great merits but that she has.

Second is I Am Leaving which overcomes running repairs on the sound system. There is a feeling that there are new people here, people who are not used to the cues but are appreciative. They clap in all the wrong places but that warms the heart. They are new and they are converted. Coast - the song about Filey which first won me over - is picked out on an acoustic guitar maintaining a delicacy despite the layering of a violin to support and everything is how one would have hoped it would be.

Fourteen Corner's Josh Taylor joins for Does Anyone Love Me Now? softly adding a beat behind and I notice that the capo on the end of Groves's guitar turns and curls as a cello would and I am struck with the sadness of the song for the first time in the emote of the lyric "I tried so hard and for so long/but by the time I woke up you were gone."

A great performance should bring out new things from old songs. My favourite live renditions I've heard came last year with The Magnetic Fields imbuing Popa Was a Rodeo with a stark honesty I found utterly disarming and the aforementioned Okkervil River's A Stone bleeding from stage to audience. These songs were good that became great in performance. These are my pantheon. I'm not mentioning Blue Roses in the same breath, not yet, but only not yet.

Marco Pasquaiello - producer of the album and man on the rise - joins for Rebecca with Groves picking up an electric guitar over her acoustic and dipping deep into the soul to craft something of captive joy. Rebecca the song, Blue Roses the album, Laura, Marco, Josh and Hannah and these nights. These things are burnt into my mind and encapsulated in the optimistic advisory lyric "Turn yourself around/You can do better/Turn yourself around/Make yourself better" delivered here with an earnest gusto and never to be forgotten.

I muse on how watching Blue Roses is a holistic experience and how I can see parts of other bands I've watched over the past three years along with the Kate Bush parts of my Mum's record collection. I think about how the music comes from the surrounding area - from Shipley's Clock Tower of my student days to the East Coast of my young holidays. Perhaps it seems personal to everyone here, or perhaps just to me.

By the time Doubtful Comforts begins I'm aware of how Blue Roses and Laura Groves have drifted away into something bigger, something wider, something with depth and height and breadth and something else. If my chest were a ocean the waves of pride would be Tsunami. Solo - the very well hidden track on the album - references the Wizard of Oz which seems appropriate and finally I Wish I... grows and swell to the point of awe with Laura's vocal gymnastics something of a special effect, a fireworks show, a layer atop but not to distract from the core and that core being an honesty coupled with a ability which is now untethered and gloriously drifts on like a balloon loosed on a blue summers day.

She returns alone to whittle through Can't Sleep and in the last verse picks out a bum note or two. Diligently she looks down and corrects herself continuing with no fuss.

The last swallow of the summer that goes unnoticed. The last kiss.

Near to the dance, into a bracket, out of the corner More

Live Review

Written By Michael Wood Friday, April 3rd, 2009

Brackets, Fourteen Corners and Far from The Dance at 1-22 Bar, Huddersfield

Local young things Brackets start with Theme from Peter Gunn and sound interesting until singer Jamie Goodwin starts with a placeless accent that lacks any ring of authenticity. Not that the young lad is a poor singer just that he is looks do not match his voices and the band - playing a rapid rock - never seen to be able to decide what sort of song they want to play.

All of which tempts one to say they avoid falling into any bracket but it would be more truthful to say that as a band they lack direction. A cover of Vampire Weekend's A-Punk shows them as able imitators until accent safari begins again. After some solid if unremarkable own compositions - She's Afraid of the Dark is worth mentioning - that include a pulsing bass line that nod towards Peter Hook a King's of Leon cover sets teeth on edge and presents a band who badly need to find their own sound and play that rather than swimming around the tunes they listen to.

By contrast if there are a band in West Yorkshire with more of a firm grasp of what they want to sound like and how they want to put that sound over than Fourteen Corners then I have yet to see it. The corners are shaking off rust from six months on the sidelines but still fuzz along with an electric authenticity. Tsotsumi is back in the set and Small Northern Town is out with "the new rocker" thrown in to impressive effect adding to what is in this humble opinion the finest song book of any unsigned band in this area.

The future for T' The Corners is always the subject of speculation. What justice does the world have that these people are playing pubs and The Pigeon Detectives play Millennium Square in Leeds? Once again singer Josh Taylor pulls out from his heart for New Limbs For Old Flames and once more Luke Silcock's fingers dart around the fret board of his guitar mesmerisingly. Both join with bass man Mike Wilson to turn to face drummer Marco Pasquariello building up to May Your Days Be Aimless and as a band vibing off each other they seem as ready as any I have seen. At the start of May they play support to Blue Roses at Live in Leeds and one can only hope those who have justifiably taken that slice of the almost dead Bradford music scene to heart will pick up a torch for Fourteen Corners.

Having returned from that London Far From The Dance are Huddersfield's next musical output and the studied, precise set suggests they have not been broken by their experiences in the capital. They have a sound that swims between Manic Street Preachers and British Sea Power while draped over the kind of post-rock soundscapes that are alluring - if not popularist - on a Friday evening in West Yorkshire. Not popularist but popular and they are well loved by a home crowd. The stage craft needs some work - the length of time spent watching bands tune up seems inversely proportional to how successful they will ultimately be - but the song book is vibrant and their aim is true.

Fourteencorners, My First Tooth, Le Tournoi Excel Before The Peak At All Day Hootenanny More

All Day Hootenanny Live Review

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.

Lack of Originality More

Granadaland Live Review

Written By Michael Wood Saturday, February 9th, 2008

Elle S'appelle, Heads We Dance, fourteencorners, Pierpoint Granadaland at The Love Apple, Bradford

Elle S'appelle are a well beaten track and that is not to say that they are not travelling that path well but rather that for all the new band buzz around them one gets the feeling that you could add their catalogue to your record collection and nod along with it for the rest of your days without ever catching the whiff oforiginality.More later for this is Granadaland and there is an order to things and as Mark Husak expands his night to include out of the area bands he is applauded for retaining a loyalty to the local scene he has sponsored for the past two years.

Pierpoint - named after Albert, the famed hangman of Bradford - are a tight collective of would be post-punk/new wave guitar heroes. They have a decent following already and the dedication they obviously have used to file jagged metal edges into sharp songs is impressive but they are let down by a lead singer who snarls a little too derivatively and ends up coming over like a parody of a pop star. Like an actor playing a would be Libertine. Like the sort of character who could crop up in Emmerdale when a band's tour bus broke down outside the Woolpack.

For tonight would seem to be about originality - or the lack of it - and Pierpoint need to stop hiding behind the cliche of a band and be more honest. When they do I believe they could be really rather interesting.

Honest is the watchword of Fourteencorners who once again pour heart and soul into the six song set they play effortlessly excellently tonight. It is familiar stuff on the whole although Marco and Jim - drum and bass - seem to have filled out the sound of We Are Pathetic! We Are Stars! and the whole set seems beefed up for sure but half way through it strikes one that the problem with Fourteencorners is that as sure as an eleven months pregnant girl - they are ready.
They are ready to go above third place on a bill. They are ready to put out something on a shiny silver disc, They are ready to get reviewed by the NME and the Observer Music Monthly. If they could move between songs live quicker - or get some banter to fill the air - then they would be ready to play much bigger venues with interesting accessible vocals from Josh and guitar work from Luke that still amazes me with it's precise speed. They are ready and if they do not get moving soon they will end up stale and that will be a crime for a band this good. Perhaps they lack the confidence to move on but they certainly lack nothing else.

Confidence can be seen in abundance in Heads We Dance who sport Bryan Ferry raincoats buttoned up to the top and loudly project around the filling Love Apple venue. They mix Eno-esque ambitions with an early Human League sensibility and show no fear of producing - albeit avant-garde - pop tunes. Love Version 15 buzzes along impressively as does Love In The Digital Age and both titles point one towards theirinfluences . One day they will release an album and it will have the words "lipstick" and "neon" in the title no doubt and I will buy it because as a band while their influences are apparent they are not scared to veer wildly away from them and as a result they create some genuinely interesting tunes.

Which leads back to Elle S'appelle who - on another night - one may laud for their tight, modern take on eighties pop mixed with a shot of The Darling Buds but tonight it all seems a little derivative and one is left hoping that they do something more edged, more spiky, with the popularity which is being pushed their way.

And So The Question Is – Do You Like Rock Music? More

BD1 LiVE Live Review

Written By Michael Wood Sunday, January 27th, 2008

British Sea Power, Hot Puppies and fourteencorners BD1 Live at St George's Hall and Brewery Arts Centre, Bradford and Kendal

British Sea Power - Live Review BD1 Live, St George's Hall Bradford with Hot Puppies & fourteencorners in September 2007 and Brewery Arts Centre Kendal in February 2008

British Sea Power are playing a fifteen minute guitar solo and I doubt I have ever been more bored in my entire band watching life.

The sort-of Brighton but not really four piece are running out the end of an uninspired set at Bradford's St George's Hall that has seen a magnificent support from Fourteencorners and some excellent work from Hot Puppies but Sea Power - despite the promises - are dull.

Those promises came from guys. Guy who had travelled. Guys had travelled from far and wide to see this band perform in this not on tour stop for BD1's November outing and specifically the promise came from a guy who had travelled from Ipswich just for the night.

"These," he tells me, "Are the only British band who can rival the Canadians." He goes into a wonderful dewy eye reminisce about seeing Arcade Fire live and prepares for the UK's answer to smart rock. Well he should do because British Sea Power while taking themselves rather seriously - The Brakes without the laughs - are a superb band on album but tonight they are simply dull.

They open with a few recognisable tunes but quickly bring confusion to even the most ardent listener with a range of hitherto unheard tracks and lengthy middle sections which are unwelcome. They play a few recognisable tunes and in doing so at least provide a frame of reference as we swim in a lost water of indigence, adrift in the chasms of space in Bradford's prestige venue.

"We only have two more..."

"We only have two more songs to play in Kendal and Larsen B isn't on of them" Hamilton tells the rapturous collective of men and women who have braved the freezing Lake District air to pack into the 250 or fewer capacity arts centre in BSP's other home town and they have played Remember Me and Fear of Drowning tonight but almost everything else has been from the newly released second best album of the year 2008 - behind The Magnetic Field's Distortion in case you are wondering what my humble opinion is - but familiarity has bred response.

British Sea Power - with added Brakes and Electric Soft Parade drummer Tom White, a violinist girl and some guy in a fantastic hat playing a fog horn - are thriving in the sort of venue that getting a top ten album - Do You Like Rock Music? is at ten in the album parade at time of writing - should preclude but having blasted out Lights Out For Darker Skies on entry to the eight foot highceiling-ed room so they smashed energetically, powerfully, wilfully through a collection which they obviously consider - perhaps with justification - the best songs they have done.

Canvey Island is epic, No Lucifer well received and Waving Flags anthemic and all are played with a confidence that borders on and might slip into arrogance but as the title suggests this is Rock Music and Rock Music should be presented with the confident sneer that Yan, Noble and especially Hamilton exude. Do you like Rock Music? they challenge, because if you so you are not going to hear better than this.

And there is atmosphere aplenty and there is Noble diving into the sea and powered by the arms of the audience walking inverted around the small room without every letting his stern poker face slip and returning the the stage to be fiercely thrown to the floor and standing a veteran of showmanship during the same fifteen minute guitar solo.

The Charming, Warm Set More

Live Review

Written By Michael Wood Friday, July 6th, 2007

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.

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Sometimes There Is Something┬áMissing More

Dog On Wheels Live Review

Written By Michael Wood Friday, April 27th, 2007

The Tendertrap, (Most of) fourteencorners, Broken Books Dog On Wheels at The Love Apple, Bradford

Sometimes in life there is something missing. Tonight at Dog On Wheels's last Thursday of the month at the Love Apple everything has something absent. Leeds folkster(s) Broken Books seemed to be missing a band being only Paul Fenwick on stage with his acoustic knocking out tunes from his soul via is ironic bone. His lilting picked melodies find a way through the first band conversation and but for a little more stage presence he could have impressed more. Does he have a face someone comments at Fenwick's heads down set which could speak louder.

Nevertheless everything about Fenwick aspires to excellence and his set is almost reminiscent of something but always sits firmly next to Badly Drawn Boy which is no bad thing although a little out of time. Flowers is pleasing and Standing Here effective and while it is all a bit 2000 it is the nicer parts of 2000.

It is not especially hard to see what is lacking from fourteencorners tonight as Luke Silcock and Josh Taylor sit middle stage with acoustic guitars and a drummer but lacking bassist Marco. He is, erm, not here. Josh mumbles.

Perhaps we should have all been expecting a shambles - certainly the band's guitarist Luke apologises enough times - but a stripped down fourteencorners still shines. The beat dropped out to James Stock's drum Luke's furious finger picking takes centre stage and West Yorkshire's second most frantic guitarist sits and plays - and really plays - and they shine.

Tsotsumi is raked over strings and a word fumble in New Limbs Songs For Old Flames is deftly moved over with a wry smile and a chuckle. The Walk Home needs the thud that Marco's bass normally provides but We Are Pathetic! We Are Stars! is plucked to a kind of lazy perfection. When this band move further afield than West Yorkshire someone will have to make a new lexicon to describe how good they are cause the old adjectives are getting used up.

A new song sounds superb and Small Northern Town is followed by more apologies. We are normally a four piece, we are normally good. The reputation will outstrip the modesty one day.

Leeds mellow five piece The Tendertrap turn up twice in Bradford in the next month and have generated something of a buzz for their mellowed out tunes and boy/girl vocal stylings. Dubbed Arcade Fire Lite by those being nice - Keane Liter by others - they kick off with Burn The House Down shows flares of wonderful imagination. Nicely stripped down to essentials Danny's vocal is bare and honest with Aimee's opportuning adding a depth to the song. "In this down and house/ambition bursts through the seams" offers Danny, "Send me a match with your letter/so I can burn the house down" Aimee interjects.

It is deep without being forced and everything is good but they go on and after a time it seems that they lack the same spark. Everything comes over as having the ambition to be a Coldplay album track. Everything is too soft pedaled. Everything is too lightly done. Scars On 45 briefly raises the mood but the cover of Eurodance "classic" Mr Vain tries to be witty and ironic but comes over as smug and arrogant. Culture Beat where no one heres idea of a good band but I'm left wishing that The Tendertraps had a per cent of the vigour and fun of the German nonsense they snidely reference.

What is missing from The Tendertraps is a sense of enjoyment, Broken Books miss a band but that is fine, fourteencorners are never to be missed - not even tonight.

An early start means an early finish before Shady Bard come on. They sound good enough through the wall but what is missing then is me.

The Woollen Wig Out Festival More

Live Review The Woollen Wig Out Festival

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

Granadaland Live Review

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.