Saturday night at Leeds’ Lending Room was the place to be for yet another stonking This Feeling show, jam packed rock ‘n’ roll, danceable funk-pop, and a healthy dose of indie punk.
At 8:30 sharp on Saturday night (October 13th), Daniel Hawke and his band took to the stage to delight the masses with a genuinely modern take on good old fashioned rock ‘n’ roll. Right from the off, Daniel and his band drew the crowd forward, all intent upon revelling in legato guitar solos, soaring bridges, oozing sex appeal a la Alex Turner, with vocals and harmonies in perfect unison, lending a new direction to a performance I became immediately attached to. And then I’m transfixed on the rhythm section; drummer, with hand bandaged after a slight rehearsal mishap, delicately making cymbal grabs, and a bassist with such a stage presence that made me question why I’d never picked up the instrument myself.
Then, brilliantly, the keys force their way through, right into my ear drums, combining traditional piano textures with modern and entirely interesting modern synth sounds. The set runs at an effortless pace, and then is halted sharply by Daniel holding the stage on his own, guitar and vocals left exposed in front of a room who dropped silent. And then we were back, hurtling through his penultimate track, a true rock ‘n’ roll gem that stood out as the highlight of the set, before a closer that maintained the energy that made Daniel’s set go from here to way up there!
From there, after a quick pint of Coors (I know what you’re thinking but it was the only beer they had on tap at the time), Citrus Heights took to the stage. I’ve heard great things about this band, but never had the opportunity to see them live, and so I am thrilled to report that after such a looming anticipation, CH meet your expectations and then surpass them, exuding originality in their approach to indie-rock, pop, & funk.
They do have a left-handed drummer though, which always makes me a tiny bit sick, but I won’t begrudge the band that after the set they delivered. With a conversational and friendly demeanour, frontman Jamie instilled and maintained a bouncy and positive atmosphere around the place, smiles on faces, ‘feel-good’ music at its very best. But Citrus Heights are more than just ‘feel-good’…way, way more. Vocal performance, from the powerful and ranging lead to the expertly utilised vocal harmonies from behind the kit, moulded nicely with beautifully weighted electronic guitar tones, and the grooviest backline around made for tracks like ‘Lovers’ and new track ‘Self-Obsession’ stand-out, even amongst a set that clearly impressed everyone in the room. I didn’t think it would be possible for Citrus Heights to get even more funky, but with a beautiful, driving bass tone cutting moments of silence emphatically, the prospect of even more new material is a very exciting one indeed. It’s impossible not to leave feeling better off for having been there in the first place.
And if that wasn’t enough, we still have Cornwall’s The Velvet Hands to finish off a great night of live music. Crashing straight into ‘Only Blame Myself’, a gem of an indie-meets-punk track, the 4-piece whirlwind through a frenetic, fast-paced, frantic, and frankly fabulous set, full of attitude, nous, and showmanship. With 3 vocalists working in unison, taking alternate lines to add a conversational aspect to their performance, the notes I was taking gradually became sparse and less detailed. “Why?” you might ask…well…because I was enjoying myself too much!
This unified Cornish force flew through their opening 5 tracks like ‘that’, before taking the time to let everyone know that “ironically, this next track is called ‘This Feeling’”. And then, we were all thrown back in via a lead guitar line that exuded sass. ‘Everyone is Dead’ followed, and I can’t escape the phrase ‘Indie Punk Bop’ that I have written down in front of me on my crumpled notepad; this is the track that won the set for me, and shows that The Velvet Hands are a band that very deservedly won the accolade of ‘Radio 1 Album of the Week’a few months ago. This is a band I urge you to see – it’s a show jam packed full of exhilarating songs that genuinely excite when performed live; a show that aptly sums up the very essence of what The Velvet Hands are as a band. I know the journey from the South West up to Leeds is a long one, but if you ever see their name on a poster remotely near you, get yourself a damn ticket.
A big ‘Ta Very Much’ to This Feeling for putting on a gig that was well worth the write up, as well as the shots of what went down! Here’s to the next one.