Glasvegas/Friendly Fires/The White Lies/Florence and the Machine @ the Academy, Leeds
Apparently finding rock music too loud is a sign of age. Well guilty as charged. Still this forty something had come to check out what the ‘kids’ are up to – or to be precise what the NME is telling us the ‘kids’ are up to.
Florence and the Machine are the first up on the stage. Florence begins the night by banging a drum. The sound from the drum is like a physical wave rattling my teeth (all my own thank you) and ruffling my hair (ditto). I quickly get out of the direct line of the speakers and gradually become accustomed to the din. Florence has a pretty good voice - a real bluesy holler. She also has the songs to complement said voice. My only complaint is that currently she only seems to have one vocal setting – full on. I’d like to hear a bit more subtlety in there. Still ‘The Dog days are over’ makes a good end to a strong set.
Next up are the White Lies. Very eighties is my initial assessment. Apparently they are been compared to Joy Division. To my mind though Joy Division sound like glacial ice in a dank crumbling industrial wasteland. White Lies, on the other hand, sound like teenagers trying to sound deep and sad in a stadium sort of way. Admittedly the singer does have a similar vocal style to Ian Curtis. Anyway judging by the crowd’s reaction I’m in the minority here since they go down very well. The last time I felt like this about a band was the Killers. I wonder what happened to them?
Friendly Fires are much more fun. The whole band leaps around and gives the impression that they are enjoying themselves. The music itself appears to be a mixture of white boy funk and more modern digital dance music. Not a million miles away from TV on the Radio in my view.
Some bands are best appreciated through the medium of the single. I think Glasvegas fall into this category. Even a thirty-minute set drags too much for me. Sure there are some good songs like ‘Geraldine’ and ‘ My Own Cheating Heart’ but on lesser album tracks such as ‘Sad Light’ and ‘Ice Cream Van’ time really drags. The sheer volume does them no favours either. The combination of reverb, feedback and the Mo Tucker/Phil Spector style backbeat is too much for my fragile ears. Still maybe it’s just my age!