With The Peasants as Bradford Welcomes Back Los Campesinos! More

BD1 LiVE Live Review

Written By Michael Wood Thursday, April 17th, 2008

Los Campesinos!, The Luvvers, UltCult BD1 Live at St George's Hall, Bradford

After blazing through Broken Heartbeats Sound Like Breakbeats the band introduce themselves. "We are Los Campesinos! and we are from Cardiff, which is near Bristol."

It is the type of comment which typifies the seven strong popster from South Wales and one is not sure if it is a flippant quip or a heartfelt claim on the heritage of that City.

UltCult look young enough to not have been at school when Sarah 100 came out but they resonate with the same DIY spiked joy that bands like Talulah Gosh, Even As We Speak and The Sea Urchins used to put through the Bristol record label with a sly mix of Kevin Shields edged on.

UltCult - Three girls, two guys and small glockenspiel.

They are three girls, two guys and small glockenspiel - glockenspiels are the instrument de jour tonight - and they sound like the fastest relationships one could have started and ended in a single night.

Odious Emporium opens the set and is impressive. Five Bedrooms and Two Lounges closes and stands out and what passes in-between is far from dull. They depart to impressed noises.

Noises describes The Luvvers who are a musically tight four piece of lads - the very sort that will later be described as "saying nothing [to me] about [my] life" and they are fronted by a bleached blonde haircut who seems to ape style and lack substance.

Substances concern Los Campesinos! and Gareth Campesinos jokes that they are on crack but the band are more like the sound of a bunch of teenagers on sugar rush. They are a band to fall in love with mixing smartness - smugness even - of lyrics with an excess of energy in performance and ring in an ill fitted innocence that gives them charm. They credit Blank Generation's Adam Simons with giving them a first gig outside either capital and are genuine in doing so. "We would have had to get proper jobs..." Gareth comments.

This ebullient charm runs through the night. Drop It Doe Eyes - sung by Aleksandra Campesinos who swaps from side keyboard duties to the front - is a joy and the Pavement cover Frontwards sounds superb. Harriet Campesinos - see what they have done with the names? - draws a bow over her violin creating depth to what would be a sound of kids hitting tin and looking over the instrumentation the seven have one can see where the Arcade Fire comparisons come in. Had Arcade Fire gown up in Cardiff and listened to Heavenly they probably would sound like this.

Gareth retreats to the back of the stage and joins Ollie Campesinos drumming the famed start of You! Me! Dancing! and they go from good to great with the half full St George's Hall moving with a total joyous lack of unison. They finish on Sweet Dreams, Sweet Cheeks after stand out version of We Throw Parties, You Throw Knives which exceeds the album and sees Gareth bounding around the stage. They are a band who are going interesting places and owe much of that to the start and support they got in Bradford.

Tonight they repaid us.

The Outsider More

BD1 LiVE Live Review

Written By Michael Wood Sunday, February 17th, 2008

Art Brut BD1 Live at St George's Hall, Bradford

Art Brut are powering through a storming set at Bradford's St George's Hall and I get the same feeling I did returning to school aged nine after a couple of weeks off with chicken pox.

Led by the wonderfully haphazard Eddie Argos who charges onto the stage like the Disney friendly version of Jarvis Cocker Art Brut are twice the band live than they are from any of the two albums and umpteen singles that have totally passed me by leading to this sense of schoolyard confusion.

They pound through My Little Brother and Argos gees his band up for every gushing of guitars with a communal call - "Are you ready Art Brut?" It is entertaining, is the stirring and as the bouncing kids at the front attest to it is stimulating enough to set bodies moving. They have an anthem - it is called Emily Kane - and it sounds fantastic. It is about Argos's fifteen year old squeeze and I'm back in the schoolyard and with my two weeks off everyone else has a new word, a phrase, a thing. I feel like an outsider.

As they are welcomed back to the stage with a chorus call of "Art Brut Top Of The Pops" which references some line in some song they have but is also exceedingly singable I'm struck by how well the four lads and a lass on stage have won over the four hundred odd at BD1 Live night in St George's Hall - or perhaps they have just won over me - but either way they deserve the encore and, I would suggest, your attention.

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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.

A Dark Mood More

BD1 LiVE Live Review

Written By Michael Wood Friday, June 29th, 2007

I Like Trains, Falconetti, Worried About Satan, Laboratory Noise BD1 Live at St George's Hall, Bradford

There is something unsettling about the end of an evening of what is ill described as mood music night at BD1 Live at Bradford St George's Hall and when I Like Trains finish the set of swirling pulsing extracts from some dark movie you would watch with the curtains drawn there is appreciation rather than an explosion. Atmosphere and foreboding is the order of the day and all assembled are sunk into it.

Laboratory Noise open the second BD1 Live night and fill the stage with compass points of guitars and a bouncing Bass in the middle. The most melodic of the four bands on tonight they make the most of the venue with a rich sound that fills the room. At one point between songs they stop and take in the surroundings - the grand hall and all - and play on comfortably and seemingly at home.

As a band LabNoise improve with familiarity. The layer of early impenetrability pushed through they offer a warmth experience.

Colder and more spiky are Worried About Satan who in soundtrack terms are something that John Carpenter would use at the height of suspense and stretched over twenty minutes hurt the brain. Two guys, one computer and some guitars they are well received by some but mystifying to others. Mogwai are an easy comparison which would put Worried About Satan into the category of post-rock and perhaps I'm dragging my knuckles but I'm still in rock.

Much is expected of Theme to German Spy Thrillers Falconetti who build a rhythm impressively but are on too briefly as they build the swirl around the room commanding an audience that sport more than the usual amount of facial hair, nodding rather than moving, appreciation rather than enjoyment. Everything is very grown up or at least post-teenage angst.

Falconetti's set goes high but ends up short and another ten minutes would not have gone amiss. They are replaced on stage rapidly by I Like Trains who add the Leeds slick to the night pitching just past Tindersticks and onto rougher ground. They are dour but it is a dour that fits the mood with Dave Martin's notes to audience hint at a maturity of the band appreciated by aficionados. They do what they do well and finish the night pushing all assembled out in the darkened streets of Bradford with a heighten sense of paranoia. I Like Trains are the sound of a strange lurking around the corner. They are an atmosphere more than an album, a dark mood but not a bad one.

A Good Idea On Paper or Otherwise More

BD1 LiVE Live Review

Written By Michael Wood Saturday, May 26th, 2007

Duels, Laura Groves, Monty Casino BD1 Live at St George's Hall, Bradford

On paper BD1 LiVE is a good idea. Take some local bands and singers, throw in a bit of polish from Leeds, put them on at a fine old fashioned venue and the Bradford Music Scene has it's first official happening. Sounds like a great idea on paper.

That idea come out of mono - spiritual home of anything one can swing hips to in Bradford - and Granadaland the purveyor's of the region's finest music nights and for sure both are great in the Love Apple on a Friday night but this is bigger time - this is St George's Hall and these walls have seen Depeche Mode on the 101 tour, seen Morrissey belting out Sheila Take A Bow and for on a Saturday afternoon for twenty years they saw Giant Haystacks and Big Daddy wrestling it out. On paper must have seemed a good - but ambitious - idea. Throw in an early start time and last bus home finish time and it must have seemed like a good idea on paper.

Wandering up to ramp to the oft overlooked venue and there is a slight tingling - if not buzz of excitement then a flickering of ambition. The halls of St George's are not often trod by so many pairs of Converse All Stars but by the time Monty Casino come on the hall is nicely filled with enthusiasts admiring the curiosity of Bradford's fresh faces shambleists and complaining that the beer is no match for the Love Apple's.

Of course Monty Casino are a shambles in the finest possible way. The make good use of the self applied tag of experimental with a scratched out guitar mix of agitpop songs about obscurities. Lead singer Patrick does not want to fill the stage but stands looking sore thumb in the middle with bassist on his left and the open space on the right. It fits nicely as does the lack of polish to the nth degree that comes between each two minute thrashed out spike of pop.

And such spikes. Tour De France is about the cycle race, Gorbachev about the middle man of Russian history. "I don't know if anyone studies history but this song is about the man who shot Franz Ferdinand and caused the first World War, Gavrilo Princip", he says to an enthrallingly bemused audience, "and I wrote a song about him."

It probably takes thirty seconds for your mind to decide on Monty Casino and you probably either are prepared to proclaim them as genuine angry pop terrorists - bastard sons of The Jam and The Fall - or they are a bunch of kids on stage having had three years of history lessons and three years of music and got the two mixed up. Personally after thirty-one seconds I was sold. Monty Casino are one of the most curiously interesting bands I've ever seen and more power to them. Hopefully they will never lose the beautiful lack of cynicism that marks out their songs. They are smart and angry and a unapologetic and that is great.

Smart in a different way is Laura Groves. She has put a posh frock on and wanders onto a stage which is bigger than the footprint of Fagin's Bar in Halifax where first I became convinced on the Shipley songstress and stands in the middle with guitar around neck taking a deep breath and looking out on what must have very suddenly seemed like something while a good idea on paper. Slowly her fingers start to pick opening notes of I Am Leaving and the figure in the centre of the stage grows and every word rings as clear as a bell and swirls around the Hall mingling with the grandiose ceiling and all the history that that entails and each note is flying around and gliding between couples inching closer together and inhabiting the stalls and they circles back and returns to a single figure on stage who closes and opportune to the microphone. "I feel so small."

Laura Groves has never sounded so good. Each pick is heartstrung and each lyric draw in sharp contrasts and I am struck with how easily dismissed girl singers singing pretty songs can be and how harsh that would be on someone who can and did write "God knows, I want to write a love song/You asked so nicely for one/I promise I will do one/Before too long" and then by the depth of Laura Groves's palette. Not black and white, not subtle shades or pastel colours. A rich and deep palette.

Coast's lingering images of ships in storms is vivid and Bridges is a passion played out as Groves switches between guitar and keyboard and it seemed that the good idea on paper is just a good idea. I have heard this set a half dozen times but never this fitting, never this paradisiac, never this good.

Imaginary Flights is a fitting - and moving - final song and the applause is as genuine as the emotion. She lingers on stage and almost prepares a bow but instead dodges shyly behind the drapes for an excited hug.

Duels are an altogether more practiced affair than this Bradford Music Scene is used to. They mix new with old and the latter sounds quirky and inquisitive and really rather interesting while the former is a bit more on the Arcade Fire that is music in 2007. They slide easily into a rapport with the audience - no mean feat - and entertain without enthralling. Potential Futures stands out and the slowed down guitar and backing vocals that singer Jim Foulger and the returning Laura Groves enjoy is a smart move.

If This Car Should Crash shows a darker edge and they justify top slot and are an object lesson showing the hosts of bands coming from this side of Pudsey how the rigours of the Leeds circuit require a more slick edge.

So in time for the last bus for some who need it the first BD1 LiVE draws to a close and it all seems to have been a very good idea on paper or otherwise.