The ethereal elements consistent in the music of Stalking Horse might not be everyone’s cup of tea on Valentine’s Eve, what with the band’s Radiohead warmth, intricate beats and singer Wu’s distinctive falsetto.
We’re pretty far from Perry Como here, as Wu offers a crooning romanticism of an altogether different beast. His Leeds lineage is strong: the former dark heart of riff-driven Leeds rockers This Et Al, his new project is more synth based but shares his former band’s sinister, melodic twist. A track like 99 Stairs wears Wu’s pop intent more proudly and, by and large, the set is experimental without being alienating.
As a live act, the tracks are awarded extra thump by an experienced band who flitter between light and shade and include members of fellow electro eclectics Department M. Sterling work.
Post War Glamour Girls have been honing their craft, stealing support slots, dropping singles and generally working bloody hard since 2011. But tonight’s well received headline show - a live rendition of their fantastic debut album, Pink Fur – feels less like an arrival and more a vindication of their powers.
They play with striking confidence and from the moment opening track Sestra sets out on its trail of brooding madness, you know you’re in safe and capable hands. It’s edge of the seat stuff.
Frontman James Smith shares a lyrical intensity, intelligence and speak-singing style with many of the dark masters, from Mark E Smith to Frank Black to Nick Cave to John Cooper Clarke (which makes sense; the band take their name from one of his works).
Smith’s scowl sits over the sweet voice of bass player Alice Scott and a cavalcade of crashing noise. They’re polite but converse only marginally with the crowd, using feedback to link their songs, adding a greater volatility to their sound. Utilising their more theatrical instincts, they build towards a final act of percussive chaos with 13 people on the stage.
Theirs is an enveloping, challenging sound, and tonight’s show establishes them as a Leeds band of considerable importance.
Gig date: February 13