It’s early January; the feeble attempts to complete Dry January have failed, money is still running low, it’s REALLY cold and good gigs are still few and far between. To combat these winter blues, Forever Cult have put together a stonking line up consisting of label buddies Narcs and slacker rock band Black Surf.
Black Surf are a band no-ones been looking for, but one we desperately need. Their infectious riffs have an undeniable pop twist that keeps the room hooked, regardless of it being a sweat box. Frontman, Ali Epstone, bounces up and down, pummeling out hooks left right and center with choruses that go on for days. Their distinctive sound has come straight from the 90’s to sit perfectly between the cool and uncool bands of today. This band are on to something.
For bands in Leeds, there’s a certain threshold that they need to meet in order to be considered a good band, and Narcs just smash it, every time. They’re a noisy quartet built on complex riffs and unrelenting frustration, that tonight, screams through even more so than before. The intensity and feeling from guitarist and singer Wilko’s performance is captivating, empowering but also infuriating when remembering that the band seem to be limited to venues of this size. But, the new tracks featured in the set give Narcs a new lease of life that will no doubt do wonders for the band.
Maintaining the fuzzy rock sound, headliners Forever Cult prove exactly why their name is at the top of the bill. Injecting great rock with elements of pop seems to be an indisputable theme for the night, and it works perfectly. As the crowd fills out and the first bits of feedback resonate around the room, it’s clear a big show is underway. This band seems to have everything: exquisite harmonies, aggression and a whole load of sludgy grunge tunes that are painfully good live. ‘Sun Trap’ invokes a crowd sing-along as FC throw light on their mellow side, whilst new track ‘Codeine’ brings out the reckless head-banging as the bands’ harshness comes out. Kieran Clarke’s piercing stare creates a strong sense of despair that transcends around the room, rousing the crowd before inviting Narcs’ Wilko back on stage to play guitar for their final track, ‘Winter’s Glow’. As Clarke plows his way through the crowd, it leaves them all begging for more.