You know when you anticipate a favourite meal after a long time and you are almost hesitant to start it; will that taste be just what you expected? Will you feel a bit let down? I was a bit like that for my first indoor gig in 15 months. Will that adrenaline rush be just as I’ve long dreamt of?
My entrance to the Wardrobe in Leeds was not as triumphant as I had hoped. I’ve forgotten what it’s like to leave a bright outside and go into a dark cellar. My eyes remembered it even less, although I could picture the rolling of eyes as this aged man stumbled and groped his way to his seat. 2 minutes later my eyes adjusted and I felt a fool. Even more so as in the dark the QR reader for the drinks menu struggled in the gloom. I felt about 86.
But thanks to two amazing bands MASI MASI and L’objectif being served up on tonight’s menu, far before the end of the night I remembered everything I love about live music. Give it up? I’ll still be getting my fix in a wheelchair and attached oxygen I swear. Please don’t trip over my tubes on your way past, it could get messy if you do.
Opening band MASI MASI set the bar high. The band were seated in a line and early wire issues ‘sorry none of us really have hair styles which work for bending over wires” resolved and we were in. I quickly warmed to these Masi Masi guys from Bradford/Leeds; a straightforward uncluttered arrangement, a stunning vocal from wild haired Joe McGrath and a gentle and stylish rhythm.
In some of the Masi Masi songs I got a feel for a psychedelic Cavetown, in others there was a good beaty arrangement, an engaging lyric and something of a solid rock style. There was a solid sound which fans of the aforementioned Cavetown and MGMT, with a touch of Cage The Elephant. The lyrics on these Masi Masi tunes are something else.
Leeds based L’objectif (Saul Kane (vocals and guitar), Louis Bullock (drums), Ezra Glennon (bass) and Dan Richardson (guitar)), provided a slow dramatic entrance to their 45 minute set. We were in the midst of guitar heroes from the oft and I was immediately swept away in a stream of delicious and intricate guitar notes. These guys are just 16/17 and tonight was their first gig together.
I don’t want to pile unnecessary pressure onto young shoulders, but this could just be Hollywood movie stuff; 4 lads impatiently waiting for their musical career to fly, and that first gig as lockdown ends at last. There is no way this felt like a first gig for the four together, and I can totally see why Chess Club Records have taken these guys under their wing. The guys at Chess Club have experience handling the early career of Mumford and Sons, Wolf Alice, Easy Life and Sundara Karma and currently handle Bloxx and Alfie Templeman. That’s what I call “in good hands”, and I’m sure there will be plenty of time for the guys to experiment and have a good time along the way.
Latest single Burn Me Out gives a good taste of the band; there’s a complex dizzying piece of guitar, both strident and almost shoe gaze sounds, and then a classic indie mournful vocal (Edwin Collins/ Orange Juice meets the Smiths) overlaid on top. The result is an almost dizzying blend of funkish playful rhythm, and then a darker paranoid undercurrent just beneath the surface.
In addition to released tracks like Annual Event, Burn Me Out and the dramatic highlight closer with its amazing circular pounding sound Drive in Mind, there were tracks new to my ear, Heaven Eleven, Have it Your Way and Done it Already. I’m not going to second guess which tracks will be on the newly announced forthcoming EP, although given it is to be called Have It Your Way there’s a clue.
Was it perfect? Well currently in the set is a song or two that I suspect will soon be stored in the cupboard of history as newer more complex bangers come to the minds of these lads.. Was it pretty stunning? Yes totally. This was an L’objectif in-your-face manifesto to hard and fast guitar and snarling gruff, biting post punk vocals. Bassist Ezra soon had the audience attention and participation with his wild antics on the stage and engaging us to bang out the beats with them. This was a seated mosh, and we were in. A couple of lads were shirts off weaving their clothing above their heads. Old sights to gladden the heart and new music to keep the pulse rate high.
* I laugh in the face of professional photographs today, but in case you can’t guess, the final image is from the socials of L’objectif.