Glass Caves, Lost State of Dance, Shoot The Poet. KU, Stockton. 17/10/14
I had no idea tonight was going to be quite so...hairy.
After seeing that one of my favourite bands, the chirpy indiepop forces of nature that are Shoot The Poet, were playing just up the road at KU along with Glass Caves - who have been bobbing about on my radar for a while - and Lost State of Dance, who I've been meaning to see for ages, it was gig-face-on-and-jump-in-the-taxi-time.
I do love KU. It has the friendliest doormen around, a really relaxed vibe, top music and awesomely cheap drinks promotions. Trouble is, I'm on my own tonight and when I'm stood alone I keep drinking. So I end up damn near leathered. Luckily there's a very handy post to my right that's perfect for a nonchalent/vaguely pissed lean as Shoot The Poet take the stage.
What a change from last time I saw these lads. They've always had talent by the bucketload but they've now got the confidence to match. Plagued by technical difficulties at Sticky Fingers the nerves and frustration were clear to see, but tonight they've been replaced with a cool, self-assured attitude. Everything is tighter and on point, I can actually hear Adam's backing vocals and Dom has turned into a prowling, confident frontman who engages the audience, struts around the stage, loves a power stance for choruses and even chucks in the odd fistpump. Their half-hour set has blown this audience away and cemented their place as one of the North East's brightest young prospects. Their cover of George Ezra's Budapest has the crowd singing along, and I have a new favourite song of theirs in Is This Love. Looking forward to next time already.
Next up is Lost State of Dance. As mentioned earlier, I've been waiting ages to see them live and I wasn't disappointed. What surpised me most was how much more the guitars came through compared to the tracks you can listen to online (find them on Souncloud, the Marina EP is particularly good). There's still a massive, 80s synthy energy like a shot of shimmery blue eyeshadow and big lacquered hair that shoots round the room as the tracks are fired out with big beats, powerful melodies and interesting blippy twiddles from master keyboard-and-slidey-button-manipulator Dan. That sentence has been rewritten many times and still sounds dodgy. However, Lost State of Dance sound anything BUT dodgy. Standout track for me is Marina with its electro swoops and playful riffs. A fun, competent cherry-breaker from a band that know how to put on a performance. And they can't half bounce.
It's now midnight and I'm in serious danger of turning into a pumpkin (that's my excuse. In truth it's probably working opposite Greggs that's doing it). Step forward Glass Caves, the best thing to come out of Pontefract since those little round bits of liquorice and purveyors of truly amazing barnets. The drummer in particular. It's like a cloud.
2014 has been a bit of a cracker for the band, with exposure on BBC Introducing and a few high-profile festival performances (I missed them at Live At Leeds after a scheduling clash. Gutting) as well as their unique approach of connecting with their audience with regular busking sessions. They've really hammered the gigs just recently and have an album out shortly, which has been well-received by both fans and critics alike based on what they've teased us with so far. Sound-wise, they bring the noise in a big way, every song delivered with power and intensity from the faultless drumming to the he's-going-to-need-strepsils-tomorrow firing out of the vocals. Somewhere in between Catfish and the Bottlemen and Kings Of Leon, Glass Caves have a raw energy that extends all the way to the end of their set. Go is my particular favourite and one of the highlights of their set along with Driving Home, which the band recently posted to their Soundcloud as a thank you to fans. If these songs are anything to go by, the album will be awesome. My advice to you is to try and see them live before they're packing out huge venues and getting arselicked by Radio 1.
Although I reckon most people would secretly like that...