Rats, The Dots, Alfie and the Avalon live at the Parish May 2022

It was carnage dear reader. Band T-shirts were a flying, mobile phones torches were frantically waving. It’s usually what I like to see at a sweaty gig, but I’m not actually describing the reception to the banging, well received evening at the Huddersfield Parish where all 3 bands on the night put considerable guts into their performance. Instead I was witnessing Rats chaotic T-Shirt size storage system causing some lively action at the merch stall afterwards.

First up on this evening of champions was local band Alfie and the Avalon. Clever name, I’m always wanting to say Frankie and the Avalon (if you know you know).

Would it be wrong of me to say the recorded releases from the band, although fine, hadn’t set my personal world on fire. So, it was a very pleasant reaction for me to really enjoy Alfie and the Avalon’s set which had a particularly strong start and a tidy peak towards the end. The band are the first to confirm they are still building up their set and tonight was evidence of the band’s hard efforts, there’s a strong future and ambition ahead. I particularly appreciated Frank… Alfie’s T Shirt in honour of Star Wars day and more importantly, the very good harmonising from the band and their catchy choruses together. Overall there was a pleasing complexity which works pretty well. Ambition. I want to see this band again.

I didn’t realise I had something in common with The Dots, but when lead vocalist Tom Seale announced The Parish was the band’s second home I felt an affinity. My new brothers and I spend a lot of time in that room, albeit I’m on one side wobbling around with my fuked knees, a beer and scribbling inane thoughts into my phone, while they are on the performing side.

I’ve seen The Dots a few times now and they have a likable style and approach. Lead singer Tom has a great command of that stage, moving around the space; it seems he is looking after his band mates, giving shared nods, looks and smiles as they nail each song. There’s a brothership in this band.

There’s also a pleasing hard variety to the songs. I jotted on my phone things like “All The Things You Say To Me – kind of Pistols meets Oasis”. “Can you See The Sun with acoustic guitar and guitarist on vocals”. “Telephone Blues, very raw Rolling Stones blues”. I guess that old saying “writing about music is like dancing about architecture” is true, but these sketched words give a flavour of the b in the bang in this band.

There’s enough energy in the room with The Dots to make even a Russian Oligarch’s eyes water at the energy bill, and the set is packed with good quality, solid tunes. I would pay good money to see The Dots live any night of the week.

As if this fine support wasn’t enough for mid week Huddersfield, we then had Liverpool’s The Rats to savour and I’m so not surprised there was that chaotic noisy queue for merch at the end. Rats are one of those joyous life affirming bands that remind you why you crave for your next live music fix.

I particularly admire the sheer range in the band’s sound, rap, punk, reggae all have a shout. And, it’s all rolled together with a lovely complexity of rhythm and a guitar that beautifully fills any gaps like a climbing rose up a garden trellis.

In places Rats feel like Sting’s illegitimate disinherited Scouser children; with their deep reggae roots running through their veins, Rats are much more authentic, hard hitting and real than a bit of bleach, a loud beach shirt and a sanitised radio friendly reggae hint.

Rats have a lot of clever thought, complex rhythm and it comes together so well live. I can only imagine the power of this band in a weekend home gig. Riot is a mild version of the word. Rats are a band that deserve a far higher profile as they are pretty damn special.

Chris R

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