The Wave Pictures - Hyde Park Book Club, Leeds - Gigs - Reviews - Soundblab

The Wave Pictures - Hyde Park Book Club, Leeds

by Andy Brown Rating: Release Date:
The Wave Pictures - Hyde Park Book Club, Leeds
The Wave Pictures - Hyde Park Book Club, Leeds

As Garfield, Bob Geldof and Robert Smith would no doubt tell you, Monday’s aren’t always the best day of the week. Yet, even that notoriously grumpy cartoon cat would have to put his cynicism aside if he heard that The Wave Pictures were in town. What’s more, the Wymeswold three-piece are playing the basement of the rather wonderful Hyde Park Book Club. A chance to see the band in such a small and intimate setting was far too good to miss. Even if it is Monday.

With a crowd steadily starting to assemble it was time for the evening’s first act, York’s Wolf Solent. With an impressive beard and a look of 70’s troubadour about him, Danny Trew Barton clearly belongs on stage. Starting with a charming Syd Barrett-esque number before moving into more blues-based territory, there’s a relaxed and natural tone to his performance that’s instantly appealing.

Using his acoustic and a number of pedals, Barton layers his music with subtle effects. Drones and strings quietly complimenting the songs. The songs themselves feel intimate, personal and well crafted, carrying an air of quiet perseverance. There’s a little more chattering from the audience than you’d hope for, yet for those paying attention Barton’s set is hypnotic.

David Tattersall places a few copies of Record Collector magazine to the side of the stage, Johnny Helm takes his place behind the drumkit and Franic Rozycki changes his shirt and puts his shades on. The Wave Pictures are almost ready for business. The band has a strong connection to all things indie (Tattersall proudly wearing a Fortuna Pop t-shirt) yet ultimately they’re a blues loving rock ‘n’ roll band.

The three-piece really comes into their own when they play live, a performance filled with electricity and spontaneity. The songs may contain their fair share of humour but it’s abundantly clear that The Wave Pictures are pretty serious about this rock ‘n’ roll lark. Perhaps that’s why they’re so much fun. They start with a thrilling, electrified, rendition of ‘American Boom’ with its mind-set defining assertion that, “we never gave a shit about whether we were or weren’t hip”.

The set plucks songs from across their discography with fan favourites ‘Just like a Drummer’, ‘Spaghetti’ and the Humphry Bogart/ The Enforcer referencing ‘Stay Here and Take Care of the Chickens’ all making an appearance. An anecdote about finally getting to play the Northern Snooker Centre leads into the swaggering ‘Pool Hall’, those ever brilliant backing vocals from Rozycki and Helm working a treat. They’ve got a few surprises hidden up their sleeves too.

With not one but two new albums scheduled for release later this year, the band takes the chance to play a few new songs. The excitable and insanely fun Link-Wray rock of ‘Give Me a Second Chance’ (from the upcoming Look inside Your Heart LP) see’s Helm take lead vocal, his drumming lifting the song into the stratosphere. Helm really is an utterly fantastic drummer, loose and free like a jazz drummer, creative and ridiculously energetic.

The highlight however comes with ‘Brushes with Happiness’, the title track from one of the new LP’s. The song feels sparse, dark and emotional; tapping into the bluesy majesty of early Fleetwood Mac. Jagged and alive yet strangely mournful the song ends with Tattersall coming over all Scott Walker-esque as he repeatedly sings, “waving to the waving sunflowers”. There’s a moment of stunned silence and an audible intake of breath before the audience start clapping.

More surprises still with a couple of well-chosen covers. Helm serenading us with a beautifully soulful rendition of Van Morrison classic ‘And it Stoned Me’ and a suitably rawkus run through Chuck Berry’s ‘Carol’. Like a live jukebox full of the finest rock ‘n’ roll you could hope for.

Crucially, the band looks like they’re having an absolute ball. Rock ‘n’ roll is meant to be fun after all right? Tattersall’s guitar playing is lively and limber, unfurling a spine-tingling solo wherever he can. There’s drum solos, bass solos and, as Jerry Lee Lewis himself might say, a whole lotta shaking goin’ on. Everything is played with buckets of enthusiasm and the kind of spontaneous flourishes that make a live show so engaging.

Who knew Monday night could be this great?

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