The Wave Pictures - Brudenell Social Club Leeds, UK - Gigs - Reviews - Soundblab

The Wave Pictures - Brudenell Social Club Leeds, UK

by Andy Brown Rating:10 Release Date:2012-01-31

The Wave Pictures have been around since the late-90s but have been on something of a roll recently, having just released a rather excellent new album with their musical hero (and mine) Billy Childish.

Great Big Flamingo Burning Moon displays the band's love of raw garage rock ‘n’ roll and is yet another great record to add to their ever-growing pile. The band has amassed a fairly eclectic and impressive back-catalogue, but it’s live that you really start to appreciate just how great The Wave Pictures really are.

Before Tattersall and co take to the stage we’re treated to a set from Belfast/York folk types, Bored Housewife. The songs centre on dead-end jobs, celebrity obsessed culture and boozy relationships; catchy, wry ballads delivered with an admirable amount of swearing. The band began life as a two-piece and it’s the vocal interactions between Justin Mckeown and Meabh McDonnell that really bring the songs to life, like Cash and Carter reimagined as a more argumentative, witty Irish couple drunkenly putting the world to rights.

The band has a real knack for storytelling, with each folk-tinged ballad infused with humour, honesty and something altogether darker. It’s not just anyone who can turn the phrase “Suicide fears for Britney Spears” into such an unnerving yet brilliant chorus.

Next to take to The Brudenell Social Club's much envied stage is Leeds' latest supergroup, Molars. The band features members of both This Many Boyfriends and Esper Scout. It’s Richard Brooke up front on this latest project, yet the band’s sound is significantly darker than This Many Boyfriends' Pastels-esque indie-pop.

Esper Scout’s Sarah Statham brings some serious rock chops to the band's post-punk rattle ‘n’ roll, her furious drumming perfectly complimented by the noisy wall of keyboards and guitars building on stage. It's undeniably intense stuff. Definitely a band to keep an eye on.  

If you thought The Wave Pictures were merely some charmingly ramshackle indie-pop outfit then you really have to see them live. The band’s sound incorporates blues, rock, indie-pop and a healthy dose of rock ‘n’ roll. The three-piece delivered every note with a confident, relaxed swagger.

Not only is Dave Tattersall a prolific and impressive songwriter, up there with the likes of Jonathan Richman, he’s also an absurdly brilliant guitarist to boot. Serene smile across his face, Tattersall unfurls some ridiculously skilful solos over the likes of ‘The Woods’. 

The band’s diverse influences are made clear with a couple of surprising cover versions. They tackled ‘I Killed the Monster’ by lo-fi genius Daniel Johnston (giving it a glam-esque 70s stomp) and ‘Green River’ by Creedence Clearwater Revival. It’s particularly on the latter cover that the band's skills shine through. 

Tattersall seemed to be in his element. This band doesn’t take it all too seriously and there’s a genuine joy and enthusiasm to their performance. Being in a band is supposed to be fun after all, right?  

The likes of ‘Pea Green Coat’ and ‘Great Big Flamingo Burning Moon’ from the new record sound raw and joyous, the band revelling in the songs garage rock stylings and surreal lyricism. We get the summery Graceland vibes of ‘Before this Day’, the lovelorn Americana ballad ‘Sweetheart’ (“When I’m with you I wish I didn’t have to go”) and the deliberately daft indie-pop of ‘Spaghetti’. The band bring their indie charms to every song and manage to make the marriage of Southern rock, indie, and a whole heap of influences make thrilling sense.

The highlight in a set of high-points arguably came with the Jonny Helm (their drummer) sings ‘God Bless the Reverend Gary Davis’. Helm leaves his drum-kit and comes to the front of the stage to perform the ode to one of the band's favourite guitarists. Stamping on the stage for percussion, the stripped-down performance lets Helm's arresting vocals rise to the fore as he sings: “So it’s fuck you and fuck all your friends/ Isn’t that how these things are supposed to end?” A real shivers-up-the-spine performance; pure magic. 

An undeniably eye-opening set, I arrived liking The Wave Pictures but left absolutely hooked. A truly brilliant band that you really should go and see live.God bless The Wave Pictures.

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