Plaid - Brudenell Social Club, Leeds - Gigs - Reviews - Soundblab

Plaid - Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

by Andy Brown Rating: Release Date:

I’m more than a little familiar with the Brudenell Social Club, with the venue sometimes feeling like a second home. It’s always impressive to see how much the venue can transform depending on the night's musical act, tonight this unassuming social club in the heart of Leeds’ Hyde Park will morph into a sweaty, smoke-filled club for a few hours. Of course this shift in atmosphere also has something to do with tonight’s act, electronic innovators Plaid.

Of course, any transformation takes time and before Plaid take to the stage we’re warmed up by a couple of support acts. First up, we get a set from West Yorkshire’s very own Nic Marsden aka Saint Cole. The venue hasn’t filled up yet but that doesn’t stop Marsden from diving head-first into a riotous set of throbbing techno. Marsden sips on a beer as he riffles through samples and beats on the laptop and Korg equipment in front of him, disembodied voices occasionally floating over the relentless rhythms. He’s clearly leading us down the rabbit hole and the Brudenell crowd, although modest at this point, follows accordingly.  

The techno vibes continue with a set from fellow Leeds artist, James Orvis. The two sets meld into each other perfectly, Orvis allowing no let-up in the club-like atmosphere. It’s a good way to get things started and reminds me of nights at Shipley’s Golden Cabinet. A friend points out that even in the brief intervening moments between their two performances the music continues over the Brudenell’s PA. I might be sober but there’s definitely a party atmosphere building.

While the warm-up acts were solid, Plaid takes things to a whole other level. It’s unsurprising to discover that the London-based band has been going since the early nineties as they deliver the kind of diverse and self-assured set that only comes from years of experience. Having just released The Digging Remedy LP in April they open with the majestic ‘Do Matter’. A significant shift from the two warm-up acts, the ambient ‘Do Matter’ unfolds slowly, utterly drenched in atmosphere. There’s something quite cinematic about Plaid’s output, their sound putting me in mind of everything from Drive to the mighty John Carpenter. If they haven’t already, they should definitely do a soundtrack.

Andy Turner and Ed Handley (joined by a third musician) stand behind a wall of triangles that act as a projection screen for an ever-shifting array of music videos and patterns. The colours and patterns change throughout, creating a psychedelic backdrop for the group’s transformative electronica. The trippy and hypnotic ‘Eyen’ proves to be a particular highlight, the piece growing in intensity and stature as it goes. Feet are moved, jaws are dropped and minds are officially blown.

Behind the projections you can just about make out the three musicians responsible, one playing bass as the other two fiddle around with laptops and a whole heap of electronic kit. Yet happily hidden away behind the projections it’s not the band that take centre stage tonight, it’s the audience. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when but at some-point I look around, sweating and clutching some water to realise that I’m in the middle of a club night- the Brudenell’s transformation from rock venue to underground dance club is complete. Good work guys.

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