The Brute Chorus + Risky Heroes, Pirouettes, & Skeletons and the empty pockets @ The Harley
The cool people from Xrayhorse music celebrated their second anniversary with style with four very good bands on a very fine Saturday night at The Harley.
First on the list were Risky Heroes, high-fiving some of their fans constantly while having one heck of a time on stage with their uplifting, happy rock and roll. I previously saw them at Rotherham and their show was still as energetic as I expected them to pull out of their instruments. After starting with ‘David and Goliath’, the band did their usual shenanigans, including playing a couple of new songs (with lyrics cheekily being read), kicking a tambourine into the public (missed my shin by this -> ___) and finishing with ‘Take me home’ while some of the audience helped with the tambourines.
It’s no secret that I’m a fan of math rock and Pirouettes delve into some foot tapping, head-nodding territory that feels like a place for Lorentz and Laplace to elope and make a band. Between the manic pace of all three string-shredding bandmembers and the insane drumming (courtesy of Matthew Ridge) they had, their punchy form of rock met the high bar of energy set previously. Their set started with ‘Pheadra’s ghost’, a great one to warm up, followed with a serious rocker in the form of ‘Utram bibis? Aquam an Undam?’ and one with a quality title like ‘It’s (probably not) going to be ok’.
Tapping has been far maligned as an instrument of heavy metal rock guitarists who are only entertaining themselves, but I personally believe math and space rock can bring this technique back. Pirouettes’ Thomas Bower does resort to this in the the last two songs of their set ‘A crass menagerie’ and ‘Nothing changed’ (both from their EP, The water or the wave) and both songs are terrific tracks. Again, their drummer might want to invest in a seatbealt for his drummer seat. Swear to God he was going to lift off any minute.
The good people of Skeletons and the Empty Pockets were huddling together by the stage before their set started. This little pep talk & ritual ended and each member solemnly took their place. Then they rocked their arses off. Lead singer Liam Creamer (he of Hey Sholay fame) is a top frontman, with all band members chiming in, sharing the limelight to show off their prowess. Again, the drummer (a certain Ryan Jenkinson) was giving his best, a few drumbeats from achieving escape velocity, as he jumped a few times while still playing, without missing a beat.
It’s hard to describe their sound, it is Rock, no doubt about it, but with a genre as wide as that, how can you pinpoint it? ‘In the woods’ is poppier, but sometimes feels like something out of an old school horror film and that strangeness gives it an extra punch. ‘Oh brother! Oh sister!’ is more straight out rock and it was a chance for the band to go all the way and have fun.
The first thing that caught my attention from The Brute Chorus was that they looked smart and scary, but then again, I’m a superfluous motherfucker, so sue me. But any superficial aspect that might be there for nitpicky reviewers is quickly dispelled by a punchy rock that sometimes sounds deceptively like very classic 50s rock, but veers very, very far away from this. ‘Birdman’ sounds like a billion songs from the Elvis era but with a very modern twist.
Again, like with Skeletons and the Empty Pockets, it’s hard to describe the sound (thank goodness for spotify, check the links sections!) but suffice it to say, it’s vivid and for all the callisthenics lead singer James Steel does, his cohorts have a response, whether by a neverending drumbeat, a bass that goes wherever it wants without losing the plot and guitar/keyboard player that adds some interesting noises. They do one heckuva show and these words could barely do them justice. So check them out.
This was the second anniversary of Xrayhorse Music and, like previously stated, they do know their music and all four bands should be proud they gave their best and succeeded.
Photos: Javier Sánchez
Skeletons and the empty pockets
The Brute Chorus