I walked into Brudenell Social club and left confused – in a good way.
Despite the pretentious hipster crowd that the club has adapted to, I really love Brudenell. It’s one of those places which, with it’s various quirks, has always brought a feeling of warmth and comfort to a Mancunian pub lover like myself.
Prior to the gig, I had heard absolutely nothing of the two support acts, so I came into the small gig room (on the left when you enter) with fresh eyes.
It started off with a modest crowd for opening act, Soham De; an acoustic guitarist with a voice that managed to be both smooth and gritty. Although evidently still awkward on a stage ( which was made obvious by thanking the crowd after every song ), he managed to impress the early birds with his heart-felt melodies. After his set, i spoke to a woman in the fag shelter, who claimed she and her friends actually shed a tear, because of his conviction to his lyrics.
After Soham, I was satisfied, but I wanted more. The next act gave it to me.
Female fronted FOURS are what indie-electro-pop is all about. Remember when Paramore stopped rocking, and swapped to the way of the synth? They’re like the British love child of that and Haim, beautifully mashed into a band.. They are like a confident, overwhelming combination of so many different artists out right now, but better.
The crowd enlarged song by song, as the singer danced around the stage like my ex, care free and loving every second.
I have one complaint – the singer was being drowned out at parts, so it made it hard to make out some lyrics, but all in all, they brought energy and joy to the room, and with that, mopped up any tears Soham De left on the club floor.
I was satisfied, full up on starter courses just as enjoyable as a main – And then came To Kill A King.
Ralph Pellymounter and his merry men waltzed on stage with a hard earned confidence, asking the crowd to come closer, herding them like sheep into a pen.
The second I saw them, I was initially thrown off by their relaxed approach to on-stage clothing, all in the most casual get-ups, as if they were roadies setting up the stage.
They started with three classically indie/ alt. type songs, then taking a strange turn, breaking up the party with a slow, vocal-heavy beauty that gave me goosebumps.
Better live than on recordings, Ralph’s voice is every word you know that describes powerful, hauntingly echoing around the small venue.
They then proceeded with a mixture of songs old and new and followed an odd pattern of three or four high energy songs, then one ballad-esque in between. Although unusual, their tactic worked, as it appeared to pull the crowds in and then suddenly let them free. I was hooked.
Midway through the mishmash of a set list, someone (presumably intoxicated) shouts ‘one more song!’ prematurely, which Ralph replied with a laugh and asked why they were low-balling them, in which the drunkard replied ‘three more songs?’, and then ‘four!’ and so on until he was stopped at ‘eight!’.
By far, the most beautiful part of the gig happened near to the end, however, when the band paid tribute to Cranberries singer, Dolores O’Riordan, who passed away the day before, singing an acoustic version of ‘Zombie’. The moment was genuinely heartfelt, and as the crowd sung along, you could feel the respect gained in the room for the gesture.
The solemn vibe perked up somewhat with the band’s trademark song ‘Choices’. There’s something about an echoing room full of strangers, all swaying and singing together that really brings me joy.
And then it got really odd…
They ended with what could be their new trademark – A song fresh off the new album, called ‘And yet’. Slow, passionate and somehow sexy, the song was feeling like it would be the perfect farewell to an adoring Leeds crowd – until they switched it up.
Next thing you know, the drummer has his top off, showing off his ‘skinny pack’ (if you know what that is), and Ralph has pulled the synth player into the crowd, in which they’re hugging spectators, as the once slow song rapidly gains momentum, into the fastest, rockiest song of the night.
The song ends, three chaos filled minutes later. The drummer kicks his drum kit over and walks off stage.
I was lost for words. My head was mashed. What had just happened?
As I got in my taxi home in the snow I thought about it, and I realised… We were given fair warning for the chaos that ensued.
The acts that went before them – one slow and passionate, one fast and kooky – they chose the support to represent best what they do on stage. It made sense now, the fast then the slow, the beauty and the beast. It was all planned and all meant to be.
The best way to sum this experience up? Planned Insanity.
In my life I have never seen anything like that before – but saying that, it was fucking brilliant.
To Kill A King’s new album ‘The Spirtitual Dark Age’ is out now