Being moved at the last minute from the smaller Games Room stage to the main stage is equally cursed and blessed. The main stage is bigger, has a better PA and a greater capacity. If, however, the audience only fill a small fraction of it there can be an anticlimactic response to good fortune. This was most definitely not the case when Strange Bones and Blackwaters brought their travelling sideshow of punk mayhem to Leeds for the night.
[contentblock id=141 img=adsense.png]
First up was a local act named Wuzi, and they were quite the revelation. Fusing together a superb blend of nineties Seattle grunge and noughties Britpop, they were elements of Muhoney and Nirvana along side Oasis and Mansun, they were young, enthusiastic, talented and beset by minor problems. One song in and the bassist has lost his strap and is soldiering on regardless on his knees, next track in Callum the singer snaps a guitar string. Equipment restored you were left wandering what next, would the ceiling cave in? Would the guitarist discover he had toilet paper hanging from his jeans? Well the ceiling stayed intact and once the toilet paper had been removed and sheepish grins finally wiped from faces is was a fantastic opening set. These boys deserve to be further up a bill and I for one am looking forward to seeing what the future holds.
Next up were BlackWaters, who look like they come from the eighties and sound like they come from the seventies while not being born in either of those decades. They play an authentic brand of punk driven by tasty guitar licks and solid rhythm section. The lanky lead singer cut quite the dash in his slightly too short black check golfing trousers and band tshirt. Blessed with the ability to lean over an awful lot without falling over he was like a curly haired punk pipe-cleaner weeble. There was a lot of energy on the stage and occasionally off it too as the boundary between performer and crowd started to become blurred a theme heavily explored this evening. The guitarist (seemingly dressed as an extra from The Breakfast Club) bounced down off stage thrashed around and bounded back again, all while not missing a note; talented and surprisingly athletic too. The crowd having been amply warmed up by Wuzi was appreciative of BlackWaters and their enthusiasm was reciprocated.
The last act up, having alternated with BlackWaters on this co-headlining tour, were Strange Bones. There was no doubt it was going to get crazy when the first moment they appear on stage the lead singer, sporting a pair of 3d glasses and a loudhailer arrives from the back of the stage, scoots over to the front, jumps down and runs out of the room. This watcher can only presume he was announcing the start of the set to the gathered smokers and pizza van users who had nipped out (and probably the neighbours) via the loudhailer, it wasn’t used again. A surprising start to an explosive set, these guys know how to make live music exciting. Whether it was the guitarist jumping on and off the drum kit like a demented jack russel, the singer jumping on top the shoulders of an unsuspecting audience member, crowd surfing done well or the mad balaclava clad track where the front man spent all his time stomping through the crowd generally being intense and slightly scary, all the time singing about Teresa May as Big Sister. The set flew by so fast there was so much going on and then with a cheery goodbye, no fanfare, no encore, they were gone. With the current resurgence of punk these guys deserve to be up there with Slaves surfing on the crest of his new, new wave.