As we here at T’Hud try to keep our Freshers’ Week as alternative as possible, eschewing the usual ladtastic vibes of some of the more popular local establishments (“F*ck Me I’m A Fresher” at Tokyo, anyone?), we stumble across The Warehouse, reigniting the touchpaper on their weekly live music night Re-Wired. After last night’s deliciously varied Street Spirit just up the road (review HERE), can The Warehouse prove that they too can provide a weekly snapshot of the wildly varied talent of West Yorkshire? We ventured in with free pint tokens in hand (naturally) to find out…
By day – and by most nights, too – The Warehouse is primarily a sports bar. This is showcased perfectly by the TV screens still adorning the walls, happily distracting the modest amount of punters with Sky Sports News’ ticker tape and tales of crushing defeat in the Rugby League (Huddersfield Giants sadly knocked out at the Super League semi-final by Warrington Wolves 30-22). And Cartoon Network is showing on one of the screens too. We’re not sure why.
Tuning up at the back of Warehouse’s spacious main room are Kamara, an indie quartet from Leeds. Arctic Monkeys‘ first album is blaring out of the PA system as they do so, and the band show their appreciation by mimicking the riff to ‘Still Take You Home’. “We love the Arctic Monkeys!” announces the band’s front-man before launching into his band’s first song, and it’s immediate from the off that the South Yorkshire band have been a massive influence on the shaping of Kamara’s sound, as we’re offered up a sharp, off-beat riff for starters.
The angular riffs come thick and fast throughout their slot, and it’s as if 2007 never happened for these guys. A song on the Skins soundtrack would probably have been their ultimate accomplishment, but as unoriginal as their skinny jeaned and Conversed indie may be, they do deliver it with a tightness and professionalism usually reserved for bands with years more experience behind them. Add to that the fact that the sound within The Warehouse is nigh on perfect tonight, and you have an entertaining – though not groundbreaking – performance on your hands.
“We hope you’re not all watching The Cramp Twins” exclaims the singer in reference to the Brian Wood cartoon still beaming cheekily from one of the screens, before introducing us to mid-set track ‘Is This Real?’, its intriguingly danceable time signatures and barnstorming chorus that evokes the sound of early Stereophonics (not a comparison the guys are probably aware of) proving to be the highlight of the set.
The Mexanines are tonight’s headliners, and bring with them the buzz of excitement that a band tipped as being on the edge of greatness usually does (the boys are heading out as The Pigeon Detectives‘ support on their upcoming October tour, so things are surely on the rise for the Bradford/Halifax six-piece). As soon as their set kicks off, it’s instantly apparent as to why they’re currently making the rounds; their brand of Editors-meets-Keane middle-of-the-road indie-durge is exactly the sort of thing record companies want to peddle to people who really don’t know any better. Each track comes blander than the last, and if ‘Mexanine’ is meant to sound like a new range of pharmaceuticals, then presumably they’d be ones designed to ‘cure’ excitement and enthusiasm.
And perhaps lead-singer James Brander should have listened to the wise words of Alex Turner during the break and realised he’s “not from New York City” he’s from Halifax, his overly emotive stage posturing as he takes breaks from guitar to have a go on the keyboard – Chris Martin of Coldplay style – failing to impress this reviewer. The band’s ultimately boring indie anthems are not works that will be troubling the record collections of discernible music fans for a while.
With any regular live music club night, it’s hard to judge the caliber of the event on the bands playing alone. As with Street Spirit, though tonight’s line-up may not have been much to shout about, next week’s could see something entirely different and exciting. It’s possible that Re-Wired could even end up being a night to rival Street Spirit, but only time – and a few quality band bookings – will tell…