Trades Club, Hebden Bridge
I bloody love this band. I go back with these guys. I’ve been going to their gigs since 2009 and they never fail to surprise and delight. They’re currently working their way around the festival circuit and although I’m pleased they are gradually reaching larger audiences this was a nice chance to see them in more intimate surrounds of the Trades Club. It’s a sell out crowd, hot and sweaty and the occasionally complex time signatures and Steve-Reich-esque poly-rhythmic xylophone work-outs don’t stop the crowd from cutting a rug – following lead singer Duncan’s lead who throws plenty of shapes up front. The band are now onto their 5th album, and have a considerable repertoire to choose from – they take heart from the fact newer songs from their latest ‘Big Balloon’ get an equally huge ovation as earlier material – nice to hear ‘Doppelganger’ from their debut LP and the title track from ‘Cadenza’ already sounding like classic stuff even though it’s a mere 5 years old.
If you’re not familiar with the band, there’s a definite proggy angle to Dutch Uncles but think the poppier end of it – ‘Turn it On Again’ era Genesis or the ‘Discipline’ era Crimson rather than ELP or Camel. They’re also informed by that classy 80s pop of Talk Talk, XTC and Japan in their funkier moments – bassist and songsmith Robin is definitely in the same class as Mick Karn (yes, that good). If this all sounds a bit arty and worthy, this gig is joyous, bouncy and irresistibly dance-able throughout. At one point Duncan apologises for the songs being ‘too big’ – and someone shouts ‘never!!!’ which tells you all you need to know about this band really.
They have a firm grasp of pop too, and the set ends with – of all things – a cover of Seal’s ‘Kiss From a Rose’. They throw in an extra chord which elevates it to a spectral, art-pop classic – and also reveals what a great tune it is and a prompts a mass singalong.
Fab. As Iggy Pop once said “They danced with me maaaan!”. There’s a lot to be said for a big band in a small room – chances are everyone is there because they want to be there and suffice to say everyone is up for it.
It made me think..
Just a reminder of what a special band they are and I can’t remember the last time I danced for the duration of a gig. They’ve never been particularly cool or hip but they’ve stuck at it, and are gradually building up a following and it seems to be paying off. Long my they continue, and if they come to your town – don’t miss them.