Made up of husband and wife Mike and Evelyn Halls, as well as Saul Godman and Ross Higginson, Clean Cut Kid are a band on the up. With their new track ‘Make Believe’ being Radio 1’s track on the day (conveniently on the day of the gig), their music is becoming a huge hit in mainstream media. Supporting a band as big as the Courteeners, however, is probably still a little new to them.
It’s 7:30pm, and Leeds First Direct Arena is already packed full of fans eager to scramble their way to the front, ready for the Courteeners to grace the stage. With such a humble entrance, you’d be forgiven for thinking they are simply roadies who’ve wandered on for a sound check. That all changes when the straggly-haired lads pick up their guitar, and Evelyn takes stance behind her keyboard.
Starting their set with indie-disco belter ‘Runaway’, the band have the crowd’s full attention from the get-go. With a combination of almost sickly sweet boy/girl harmonies and a dynamic drumbeat, the track makes sure the room is bouncing along with them. There’s also a distinct echo coming from the crowd; clearly, Clean Cut Kid’s music is already familiar to some in this room.
Next up is ‘Pick Me Up’, a song with unbearably catchy riffs spilling over it’s top. As predicted, it’s another huge hit with the audience. The repetitive ‘Pick me up/
Your voice can come along and/Pick me up’ rings out across the arena, met by a wall of sound being screamed back at the stage. The band go straight into their next track, major hit ‘We Used To Be in Love’. This is a massive tune at the minute, and they crowd know that. Dancing and singing away, everyone seems to be having an absolute blast. This again is bursting with catchy hooks; Clean Cut Kid seem to have a certain formula, and it’s one that is definitely working. They’re able to bash out track after track of indie-pop goodness, and remain such a tightly-knit quartet through every single one of them.
Mike addresses the crowd to introduce the next song, which is clearly extremely special to him. “I wrote this for my wife,” he declares, giving Evelyn a little look that only they know the meaning of. The band then begin the aptly named ‘Evelyn’. It’s refreshing to see such a raw and emotional performance come from this band, and it’s also a nice break from the rest of the set. Despite this still being a rather energetic song, there’s something much sweeter and delicate about the track.
‘Make Believe’ is next up, and this is the bands newest single. The track has only been released on the day of the gig, yet the majority of the crowd seems to know it word for word. This is again an infectious track, and it’s hard to believe anyone could leave the arena without it ringing through their minds. The bands energy is yet to falter- they’re obviously having an amazing time up on stage, and so they should be, because they’re absolutely nailing it.
The band’s (too) short but sweet set ends with their hit ‘Vitamin C’, and leaves the arena on a high. Reminiscent of early 70s Fleetwood Mac mashed with a bit of Britpop, the song leaves the crowd well and truly warmed up for the rest of night.
Clean Cut Kid are a triumph. They should be really proud of what they’ve achieved so far, and they’re surely destined for bigger and better things. In fact, it wouldn’t be surprising to see them headlining Leeds Arena themselves in the not so distant future.