There’s one constant quality of art that’s hard to describe. Originality. There isn’t a readily available frame of reference because no one has done what they are doing before. This can either mean original ‘crap’, original ‘mediocre, or ‘original ‘brilliant’. Last nights gig at Seven Arts in Leeds was unquestionably original, ‘brilliant’.
Being hard to describe, makes the job of a humble blogger (yours truly) quite tricky when faced with the task of reviewing their EP launch last night. I’ll go with the words of a proper music journalist, Graham Chalmers in last weeks Harrogate Advertiser to help me out out though “mixing a little of Portishead’s Beth Gibbons wih a dash of PJ Harvy, and a splash of haunting melodies” (Thanks Graham!)
The venue was a place I’d not been to before – a superb establishment. Super-cool food and drink – including Oranjeboom, and Timothy Taylor on tap. It’s in a lovely part of Leeds; the Harrogate Road, Chapel Allerton address gives it an almost local feel (to Harrogate). When we arrived, my first reaction was, on peering trough the glass frontage, was that the band hadn’t set up yet. Little did I know that the bar, in a kind of an inverted Speak Easy fashion, hides the secret of a state of the art audience centric theatre out back, for state of the art art.
We were lucky enough to get a table right on the front row. Ideal for shooting a few photos.Ideal for hearing even the finest subtle delicacies that were on offer. First course was a set up that involved a Bodhrániser, a French Hornographer, a Cellists (such a weird word, means Cello player, apparently) and a Vicky Whelan. I’ve been lucky enough to be able to call Vicky a friend, with her worse half Darkus for somewhere around 15 to 20 years. There’s probably oodles of photos and anecdotes of the lovely couple, aka Dark and Sticky, on this very website. I digress.
Surprising and fascinatingly complex rhythms with oft dreamy, oft edgy chord and scales blended into a luxurious, smooth mix, perfectly blended together, thanks to the solid keyboard playing and arresting vocals from Vicky. Prose of Cornish Land Pirates, ethereal but real tales of cloaks made entirely out of spiders web silk and the hyper real and grounding intro about how child’s toy and peeling carrots gave the inspiration to its finished song counterpart.
The main course, Cue full band – Fender Strat, a G-Love and Special Sauce-esque drum kit, and a fretless bass. Knowing some of the songs from hearing them with just Vick and maybe a snare and kick, it was great to see how they’ve been re worked into a full band set up. We sat, we watched, we tapped our toes and listened. Really listened – thanks to the atmosphere of complete in awe silence from the audience, part thanks to the superb acoustics of the purpose built room offered, and the excellent PA and back-line to which I was privileged to have ringside. Perfect clarity, no extra tinnitus today (a good indicator of a quality PA).
Intermission was provided in the form of a short film to accompany one of the songs by film maker Andrew Lugg who clearly has poured so much into the project. Sort of Pink Floyd’s Sorcer Full of Secrets artwork meets the trippy bit from Zepp’s The Song Remains The Same film. There was an amazing effect in one part that looked like he’d projected the footage onto the surface of some water and filmed that. I asked him about this after the gig. Turns out, he had. Bravo.
The dessert, or second half of the gig showcased the real sparks of a the band – a tightly woven and highly polished (I’ve run out of food analogies) unit that have the makings of something big.
So take away (ah ha!) items from this blog would be; check out DragonFly Tattoo if you get the opportunity and have a look at Seven Arts if you’re after a potential great night out.