Tiny Pop Presents.... Tribute to Pop - Leeds, Fox & Newt - Gigs - Reviews - Soundblab

Tiny Pop Presents.... Tribute to Pop - Leeds, Fox & Newt

by Andy Brown Rating:10 Release Date:2012-01-09

With some fairly disastrous election results just beginning to sink in, I make my way to the Fox & Newt for May’s Tiny Pop Presents gig. For those still unfamiliar with the project, Tiny Pop Presents and its mastermind Rachael Rix-Moore plan to stage 13 ‘pop-up’ gigs over 2015; each gig will be host to a temporary ‘pop-up’ band involving Rix-Moore and her rolling cast of musical cohorts.

The gigs have been gathering momentum as the months have rolled by, and there’s been a really fun DIY feel to each performance. The fact that most people in the room seem to be as disheartened with the election results as I am only adds to the feeling that tonight will be a collective two-fingered salute to Westminster. Or at least a decent commiseratory piss-up.

First on tonight is Leeds based artist, photographer and musician Alisia Casper. Casper’s music is sparse, meditative, and genuinely moving. Taking to the stage with a slightly out-of-tune electric guitar, Casper’s tumbling notes bare a passing resemblance to some beautiful broken toy-box melody while her voice is both fragile and powerful.

It’s an intimate performance and it often feels as though Casper’s haunting folk-hymns are speaking directly to you. There’s a particularly stunning moment of musical transcendence during ‘Starms’, as she sings: “I know that I’m going to die/ and you know that you’re going to die/ That is why you worry/ and it's why you feel afraid/ but it's why you should not worry/ and its why we must not be afraid”. It’s a beautiful and devastating performance.

The gears are significantly shifted with the arrival of tonight’s pop-up band, Tribute to Pop. The group is dedicated to the memory of Tribute to Thomas, a very short-lived glockenspiel and vibraphone duo that featured Katie Nicholls and Rix-Moore.

Tribute to Thomas came about after Rix-Moore named a fire-extinguisher Thomas at Leeds Festival back in 2001. They played one gig which involved playing along to songs (as they hadn’t written any themselves), someone’s hair caching fire and a game of pass the parcel.

Tribute to Pop are quite a different proposition from their spiritual forefathers but they do open with a cover of ‘Walking in the Air’ in tribute to the original bands glockenspiel rendition. The band features Rix-Moore on drums and David Fox on guitar, keyboard and noise duties; it’s a suitably cathartic set considering the gloom of the election results.

Rix-Moores thunderous drumming really comes to the fore as the duo pile through a set of noisy, Ghostwatch-referencing indiepop and fuzzy, feedback soaked psych-rock. The set veers into noisy improv territory and provides some well needed riffs for our post-election blues.

Things get darker still with the arrival of goth-tinged post-punk duo Gundogs. Aided by a suitably cold sounding drum-machine, the duo conjures up the kind of post-industrial landscape that the likes of Joy Division and Killing Joke evoked so well. It’s a confrontational and a distinctly intense sound, the likes of ‘Lurcher’ brooding with half heard warnings and dark intent.

The night comes to a close with a riotous set from garage-punk four-piece Nervous Twitch. The band creates the kind of free-wheeling, 60s influenced garage-rock so beloved of Holly Golightly and Billy Childish.

There’s a real sense of joyous release here and a clear appreciation of that ever-wonderful, ever inspiring rock ‘n’ roll sound. We get an energetic cover of Jesus & Mary Chain classic ‘Head On’ (closer in spirit to the Pixies explosive rendition), while their faithfully ragged version of The Tamron’s ‘Wild Man’ gets the Fox & Newt crowd dancing like its 1967.

There’s surf-style instrumentals (the appropriately titled ‘Tarrantino Hangover’), gleeful two-minute punk blasts (‘Jonny’s Got a Gun’), and fizzy, garage-rock energy in every note. When singer/bassist Erin Van Rumble swaps her guitar for a keyboard the band seems to morph into the B-52s, leaving Rumble free to prowl the stage as the two guitarists strike some suitably heroic rock poses.

It’s a storming set and the perfect end to yet another brilliant Tiny Pop Presents gig. In all the fun and feedback, I almost forgot about those election results…

January gig

February gig

March gig

April gig

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