In the midst of Independent Venue Week, I found myself back in an independent venue a cut above the rest – the 360 Club in Leeds.
My return presented me with two new bands – NARCS and Treason Kings – as well as two who I had seen on my previous visit, adore//repel and Forever Cult – the headline act.
Starting off was punchy Yorkshire trio adore//repel. This time they were even better. With an instantly recognisable and unique sound, the three have clearly hit on something and the fascinating thing about this band is the lack of a bass player in their midst in a style of music in which it could make all the difference.
First time around, while still talented, it felt as if they played extremely well for a band without a bass guitar, however, this time, it progressed further into an implicit celebration of their guitar-based music, adding an unprecedented level of precision to their live act.
Their punchy, pleasantly-disjointed sound really came into its own, with a signature, or an edge, rather, to their act which was now most definitely their own. The snappy drumming of Anthony Wagstaff not only replaces, but supplants the bass guitar rhythm.
The precision of the picking of the two frontmen builds up to twirling vocals in the choruses, a spattering of guttural ferocity and a more pensive and sometimes intricate sound; there is no need for the bass to bring the sound back down – it is where it belongs.
A real sense of development for this band led a decent opening act of the evening. Listen to ‘Youngest Wish’ if you want a song that will maintain their obviously indie aesthetic but displays the quality of what I hope, the three of them will go to show a larger, deserving audience.
To follow, Treason Kings, a band with which I was not familiar, however, was immediately clear as something which would, be right up my street.
Treason Kings successfully exist somewhere between The Melvins, Kyuss and perhaps Priestess, but of course wrapped up in a happily British package.
Generating a huge amount of noise with deep, sludge overtones in many of their tracks, the most notable track was ‘Your Suit’, resonating with the anthemic lyric “your suit costs more than my house” - instantly memorable.
This song is a must-listen for any Kyuss fans out there, or any of those nostalgic for stoner rock. They are a band I will continue to listen to, at least in personal taste. Listen to ‘With the Sun’ or ‘Castle’. Please.
NARCS were next, a harmonic indie pop group, with an injection of grunge elements complete with a hefty amount of stage presence.
Young and noisy, they delivered an astute set, with ‘Tall Grass’ showing off their individual attributes, easily rousing the crowd and exciting new listeners. The guitar solo of this band is most definitely worth noting, a soaring distorted melody straight from a Queens of the Stone Age song.
The spectacle itself was worth the meagre ticket price, with James Wilkinson, the front man, venturing all the way into the crowd to entertain for the last track. Worth a watch, I’m sure. Download ‘Tall Grass’ if you are tempted.
Final performers were, again, Forever Cult. Equally as impressive this time around, they showed why they are already a minor success.
Songs like ‘Sinking’ scream of Bloc Party, and their quality is not far off. A clearly-refined act,their garagey, post grunge feel fitted nicely into the last slot of the evening.
This refinement leads not only to clear, successful playing on stage, but also a captivating stage presence.
Even down to the little-bits-of-backchat-and-crowd-rousing-stuck-between-songs were a little flirty, humourous and fairly natural.
There is a distinct lack of onstage awkwardness that comes with either experience or genuine talent and prowess, or, as I will hazard a guess for with Forever Cult, a little bit of both.
Once again, their finest piece, ‘Yasmin’ was expert and crafted with a nice touch.
Perhaps a highlight of the evening was the lead singer of NARCS stage crashing in the best sort of way to perform a seemingly off-the-cuff duet with Forever Cult, who, of course, expertly dealt with it all and gave the crowd a pleasantly raucous and controlled explosive show.
It would be patronising of me to say that Forever Cult were one to watch, because, it has become clear in two gigs that they are way past this. So I won’t even try.
Good band, good lyrics and a “bloody” good show.