WE were invited to see the very first show of a Leeds band called the Ship-Tones at the 360 Club in The Library last Friday, and what a show it was.
With support from solo artist Charlie Straw, and Fold, it turned out to be amazing.
The Ship-Tones have been around for a fair while now, recording, getting ready to revolutionise the reggae/indie scene. They talk the talk, that’s for sure, and later I found that they walked the walk.
Getting back to the beginning of the night, and Charlie Straw. A solo artist, with a mix up of an electric guitar for some tracks, an acoustic for some others, and the audiences feet and claps for the duration of one song - no other instruments required. Charlie is a first year university student, so fairly new on the music scene in Leeds. He opened with a cover of Chris Isaak’s ‘Wicked Game’ and he made it his own.
The first half of the set was quite heavily influenced with the blues, but even though that genre is decades old, the fact that it inspires young folks today to write is truly amazing.
The second half of the set was more intimate. Mellow, sure it was, but still utterly amazing. This guy is something else, and personally, I think he will eventually make a massive splash in the music world.. He has the songs, he has the talent, he engages with the audience, which is something most unsigned artists simply forget to do.
Next up was Fold. Now, as a musician and performer myself, I love seeing a super talented band on a good show. These guys are great but one thing got me. There are no lead vocals on any of the tracks. They use samples and visual aids to make the performance work, the audience were engaged during every break, and the ideas they have... Amazing. Their latest single is out in June. They only feature Bruce Lee on that track talking about being water... Check Fold out, they are amazing at what they do.
The Ship-Tones haven’t really hit the live scene yet. In fact, tonight was their first show. Reggae/indie infusion, a 10-piece band, and some extremely well-known guest vocalists such as Ricky Wilson (Kaiser Chiefs), Gary and Ryan Jarman (The Cribs), Edwyn Collins, among others.
For the live performance, clearly you can’t have all these guest vocalists around at every show, not even your first one, so they had to rely on backing tracks for their performance - for the guest vocals, that is. The rest of it is totally live and in your face.
I’ve been to the 360 Club plenty of times before, and seen crowds reactions to bands – cheering, clapping, but I don’t ever think I have seen the majority of the crowd dancing along to each song, just getting their heads in to that zone, and that was all down to the musicians on stage.
Vibrance, energy, stage presence (hard not to have presence with that many folks on the stage at one time), and fun. They have dynamics in every track, and just add a whole new dimension to music in my eyes.
I don’t know when they are releasing their album, because they are sitting on it for a while, they want to play live a while before that’s released. That confuses me, but, that’s their way of doing things, and it seems to be working for them. I’ve never seen a band play a first show ever to a packed out room, and with the confidence of performers that have been at it for years.
So, with that, I really do think you should have a gander and see what these guys are about, listen to some tracks, and then wait eagerly for news of their next show.
Gig date: May 30