Paceshifters - The Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

by Andy Brown Rating: Release Date:
Paceshifters - The Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
Paceshifters - The Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

They’ve been around a while but tonight will be my introduction to Dutch rock-trio Paceshifters. Forming back in 2008, the band recently released their fourth album Waiting to Derail and have embarked on a European tour to spread the good news. It’s a cold and wet Sunday evening when they arrive at the Brudenell Social Club, intent on bringing a little energy and enthusiasm to the tail end of the weekend.

Two, rather brilliant, local acts get things started. First up, there’s a set from energetic fuzz-rock enthusiasts Furr. With bassist Guy Read currently out of action, the band is reduced to a three-piece. It’s never an ideal situation for any band yet Furr take the challenge in their stride, vocalist/guitarist Jack Byrne quickly learning the bass parts and guitarist Sam Jackson shredding enough for two.

They’re on fire from the very start; ploughing into a set of loud, melodic, party-starting rock. One-part Weezer-esque college rock and one-part, balls-to-the-wall riff monsters. Furr remind you just how fun this rock ‘n’ roll lark can be. There are songs of love, songs of hate and a whole lot of riffs to get your teeth stuck into. ‘Another Fable’ is an absolute gem and is still giddily bouncing around my head for days afterwards.

Next up, things get considerably darker with the arrival of Brooders. The trio start with a swaggering, brilliantly evil-sounding instrumental. The guitar’s, at this point, reminding me a little of the mighty Rowland S Howard (a very good thing indeed). Songs like the propulsive, heavy goth-pop of ‘Lie’ bring a healthy dose of riffs and angst while other tracks indulge us with some hypnotic, groove-led psychedelia. ‘Blue Eyed Prince’ meanwhile is a full-on, heartbroken ballad.

The band is still experimenting with and exploring their sound, who knows what they’ll sound like in a year’s time. The set concludes with a wall-of-noise that abruptly ends when vocalist Adam Bairstow pulls the cable from his amplifier. Dramatic, raw, full-throttle fun.

Paceshifters keep the momentum going. Opening with ‘Draw a Blank’ from the new album, vocalist Seb Dokman sings “what does it matter/ nothing matters”. That might sound a tad pessimistic written down but put to the songs impassioned racket it sounds thoroughly euphoric. Sometimes it takes a while for a new band to grow on you but we’re only a few minutes in and I’m already completely hooked.

The band say they’re inspired by the 90’s grunge scene yet there’s so much more to their sound then that implies. The tense, heavy drama of ‘Drive Me Insane’ sits next to the uplifting, expansive rock of ‘Boundaries’ and the appropriately-titled, heavy melodicism of ‘Yearning Desire’. The audience is nowhere near the kind of size they deserve but everything is played with an admirable passion.

The epic, post-rock of ‘Davis’ (a police brutality protest song) is an undisputed highlight. Stretching out over 10 glorious minutes the song serves as an ideal platform for the bands talents and their grasp of dynamics. Jesper Albers drumming drives the whole thing forward as Dokman’s guitar switches between shimmering, ambient passages and raging tornadoes of sound. A hair-raising and truly impressive piece of music and musicianship.

After all these rock three-pieces it only seems right that Paceshifters throw in a fairly straight ahead yet no less fun rendition of Nirvana classic ‘Aneurysm’. I’m thrown straight back to my teenage years (well, all the good bits anyway) and can’t help but smile. They’re such a great live act that I’m kind of annoyed that I’ve only just discovered them. Hopefully Paceshifters will find their rightful place; proudly plastered onto bedroom walls alongside their heroes.

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