The Lounge Society live at Loafers

One of the bands I love to see live at the moment is Hebden Bridge/Tod based The Lounge Society. So, I spotted and quickly snaffled a ticket for their exclusive gig at Loafers record shop in Halifax Piece Hall.

It was a a nice intimate gig of around 50 folk, and a lot of the people I happened to speak with there hadn’t seen the Lounge Society before. It was both a great introduction for them to see the band, and a wonderful opportunity for me – they perhaps didn’t fully know what sheer deliciousness was ahead of them, so I managed to get a ring side seat. Each time that happens with the Lounge Society, I think its going to be my last experience right at the front, and then I manage to snaffle another one. Blessed, bullishly heavy, or perhaps both dear reader.

I guess I should try and define the sound of The Lounge Society for any reader who have not yet heard them. I dislike the term post- punk and don’t think The Lounge Society fit into a description that includes clipped spoken vocals and intricately manicured jerky beats. The Lounge Society are far more natural and organic to my ear.

I love Shame and I get a similar vibe with The Lounge Society of wanting to share a message, get what’s in your head out there, a genuine interest in people and politics. The band cite influences like The Velvet Underground, Television, The Fall, Iggy Pop, Joy Division and many more, and I can go with that unpolished, honest, hard vibe these artists evoke. Does that work?

The Lounge Society have to be the fastest guitarists on the block, both in terms of actually playing them and for tossing them to each other to play between songs. It’s not often the lead guitarist becomes the bassist for the next tune, the singer is both guitarist and bassist (and sometimes keys player too (although not tonight), and the load is pretty evenly distributed between the three.

I must confess I’m always a bit disappointed when drummer Archie Dewis doesn’t suddenly leap up to take his turn on that constant guitar rotation. However, when he plays Archie seems to be under an American Indian style Totem trance with the beats, it’s rare to see anyone feel quite as one with their body and mind to the beat, and Archie and indeed the whole band reminded me of The Doors (not particularly the sound directly itself, but in that pure sense of liquidity and connection with the songs, particularly with thinking about those intricate Doors album tracks).

While I’ve been to Loafers quite a few times (a record shop with Vocation Beer in it, what’s not to like?), I’ve never been there for a gig and didn’t quite know the score. As it happens it was just The Lounge Society, no warm up, and the band perched at the end of the shop floor in front of the drinks fridge. Thankfully no one was on the tonic water, so the band played uninterrupted The sound and intimacy was excellent and the Lounge Society clearly loved and relished the vibe. Definitely not the last band I’ll see at Loafers.

It could only be at Loafers where the band assume the shop has vinyl, and the shop assumes the band will bring some. I must confess to owning three vinyl copies of Tired of Liberty already, so a limited edition T to help fund the guys to get to Austin for SXSW with Speedy Wunderground seemed the only sensible thing to do. As Cam said, “We are going to a T-shirt shop to do a gig soon, we will make sure we bring our vinyl”.

I heard tell the band had turned up almost a couple of hours before the gig, so there was plenty of time for them to set up and get the sound spot on. As it happened there were a couple of cymbal and cable issues early on, but that was just part of the fun, as was the few bars and mini cover of Psycho Killer.

The Lounge Society set was of course heavily influenced by their magnificent debut album Tired of Liberty. The striking lyrics from the band and vocal delivery of Cam (and sometimes Herbie) is honest and runs true and free, but pressed home with force with those pounding guitars and drums. I felt like I’d been in a wind tunnel by the end of the set with the power of the music.

I was happy the band top and tailed their set with the awesome People Are Scary, and it always sends shivers in my spine when Herbie sings “I don’t know anybody in this room“, it reminds me of that freaky time when you are at a party with strangers and have perhaps bitten off too much. Likewise, I can hardly conceive of a time where The Lounge Society might not end a gig without Generation Game. I guess it will come one day, but it’s always an amazing finale. I hope I hear that song on my 90th birthday.

So energy and power and togetherness and fun was the story of The Lounge Society at Loafers tonight. Special all told.


* Photos by me for this one. The downside of being at the front is that someone will have photos with the back of my fat head in them. Sorry people.


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