Tinsel fell, plastic Christmas trees dropped and Brudenell Social steamed up as Clue Records’ finest bands played a Christmas gig so hot the ice caps probably started to melt a little faster.
Clue Records is an independent record label housing some of Yorkshire’s most exciting emerging music talent. On the line-up were Allusondrugs, Forever Cult, Trash, NARCs, Bruja, Lull, Avalanche Party and Colour of Spring, and each band delivered a captivating set that made a Sunday afternoon at Leeds’ Brudenell feel like sweaty late night lock-in.
The day kicked off with grungy foursome Allusondrugs. With a Cobain-esque frontman and sultry psychedelic riffs, they effortlessly warmed up the crowd and foreshadowed the complete quality of the bands that were to come. I’ve heard Allusondrugs’ name floating around Leeds a lot lately, and after seeing them in action its undeniable that they’re a band to keep an eye on; You might get dizzy though as they don’t stop moving; they flew about the stage, gloriously unconstrained, supplying tight and possessed grunge.
Next up was Frisian garage noise three-piece Abdomen. They nonchalantly sauntered about the stage, clearly in their element, to the dynamic fuzz of their addictive choruses and incendiary riffs. In Leeds to record a debut album with Matt Peel (Pulled Apart By Horses, Eagulls), Abdomen are sure to enter 2017 with a swelling hype.
Half an hour later, London-based four-piece Lull joyfully took the stage. Described by DiS Magazine to be “like Slowdive covering Smashing Pumpkins”, Lull offered some nice hardboiled shoegaze. Frontman Jon resembles Wayne from Wayne’s World and headbanged his pony tail out as he plastered out gritty yet shimmering riffs. Bassist Simon was unstoppable as he lurched about the stage, blissfully unimpeded, whilst drummer Toby held everything tightly together.
The room filled for Leeds lads NARCs and immediately everyone was captivated by their unconfined and explosive energy. The pure buzz of their set brought the tinsel down from the ceiling as politically-charged melodies roared over pulsing drums and gritty bass lines. Storming into the crowd, the only thing holding back frontman Wilko was his guitar lead. NARCs’ performance was something resoundingly special, and catching this intimate set at The Brudenell will definitely be something to brag about when they’re playing sweaty sold-out shows and filling festival tents.
Barnsley grunge-pop threesome Bruja brought a smile to everyone’s faces with their tight togetherness and gritty grunge-lounge-psychedelia. Bassist/Vocalist Delyth kicks off her Docs (probably just to show off her sick unicorn socks) as the trio blistered into hypnotically fuzzy guitar licks, wonderfully relentless drums and seductive bass-lines. Delyth’s laid-back bants in-between songs and slinky vocals contrasted to Zach’s rapidly thunderous drumming and Giannis’ equally fast-paced guitar, yet they worked in perfect fizzy harmony. Bruja’s set was my favourite of the day because their songs were so raw and perfectly imperfect; they’re definitely a band to keep your eye on throughout 2017.
Despite the heckles from their loving family and a sore throat, dreamy indie-pop four-piece Trash enchanted the crowd with a far from trashy set. Despite many glitter-clad fans making their way to the front of the crowd, the band had a collective shyness- a paradox to their bold sound. Yet, by the end of the set, they seemed to sweat off any reserve they had as they dropped their inhibitions and lurched into bangers ‘Give Up’ and ‘Hot Coffee’. Labelled as “…one of the best new artists you’ll hear this year” by Line Of Best Fit, Trash are another band to watch as they take the slacker-indie-pop scene by glittery storm.
Avalanche Party were off the hook. Lead vocalist Jordan’s intense stare was more piercing than the guitar riffs, as the band launched into a hectic mix of garage and punk rock. They were on full-throttle through the entire set yet still carried simple magnetism.
The penultimate band was Leeds shoegazers Colour of Spring, who blanketed the room with their hazy guitars and sultry vocals, lulling the crowd into a swaying melancholia.
Forever Cult closed the night with a gloriously feral set that saw people climbing onto friends’ shoulders and shouting back lyrics. It may have been heat and day-drinking that got the crowd to drop their inhibitions, but Forever Cult’s unrestrained and gloriously savage set definitely fueled the hype.
The whole day showcased some incredible talent and showed off the roofless potential of Clue Records’ bands. With these bands on the rise, 2017’s going to be a big one.
Words and Images by Meg Firth.