Tiny Pop Presents... Madam Laypop - Leeds, Fox & Newt - Gigs - Reviews - Soundblab

Tiny Pop Presents... Madam Laypop - Leeds, Fox & Newt

by Andy Brown Rating:10 Release Date:

It’s looking like it is going to be a pretty wet, cold and perhaps miserable November (well, were you expecting anything else?) but all is not lost as it’s time for the penultimate Tiny Pop Presents gig. For those still to discover the monthly joys of Tiny Pop Presents I’ll explain; Rachael Rix-Moore set out to perform with 13 different pop-up bands in 2015, each band acting as a tribute to a band from her illustrious musical past.

Each of these pop-up bands would play alongside a selection of varied and exciting local talent once a month for a meagre three pound entrance fee. It’s been bloody brilliant and, unlike the weather and world politics is something that seems to have only improved with each passing month.  

Tonight opens with the frankly wonderful alt-folk stylings of Miranda Arieh. Recently returned from a two week gigging stint in New York it’s brilliant to see Arieh perform in the cosy (well, ok, small) surroundings of the Fox & Newt, it’s a setting that suits these personal and powerful songs down to the ground.  For the first time Arieh’s songs are complimented by a drummer (playing a lone snare) and keyboardist/backing singer, adding just enough extra momentum to the songs emotional narratives. Each passionately delivered song exudes a sense of strength, philosophical wisdom and life experience.   

Arieh’s voice is a flexible and adaptable instrument, sliding between gentle Joanna Newsom-esque stylings (especially on tonight’s opening song, ‘Countdown’) and a breathless, rock ‘n’ roll moan. Songs like the skipping, sprightly folk of ‘How Does It Feel’ cut straight to the point and reveal a songwriter comfortable in her own abilities. Arieh changes from acoustic guitar to bass for the final song, aptly called ‘The End’ as the keyboardist gulps and informs us of the songs rather intimidating 7 key-changes.  It’s a really special performance from a genuine home-grown talent and one that highlights some undeniably clever, affecting and unique songwriting.

Face-paint applied and eccentric cover versions rehearsed, it’s now time for Madam Laypop. Always remembering to put the emphasis on fun, the band looks like some cross between League of Gentlemen extras and a travelling circus. Serving as a tribute to Madam Laycock and her Dabeno Pleasures, tonight’s pop-up band boasts a number of familiar Tiny Pop regulars. Rachael takes her usual place behind the drumkit while Alice Rix-Moore adds glockenspiel (or ‘plinky plonk’ as they call it), Invisible Cities’ Jenna Isherwood adds viola, Matthew Evans on the bass and Das Pain’s Ian McArdle on guitar and vocal duties.   

The dark magic begins with a rendition of the Tindersticks ‘Drunk Tank’ and it’s immediately clear that this is one of the strongest pop-up bands to grace the Tiny Pop stage. The songs drunken lurch sets the tone, a slightly darker than usual pop-up band and one that shows just how talented this bunch of pop-up artists really are. McArdle’s voice suits the Tindersticks perfectly, his own menacing croon not a million miles away from the band’s own Stuart Staples.

The bands original material bristles with energy, adopting a manic fairground stomp that makes everything seem a little like you’re in Wim Wenders iconic Wings of Desire. Other covers include the likes of Depeche Mode classic, ‘Enjoy the Silence’ but they save the best for last. If everything sounds a little serious than it’s aptly countered by the bands banter (McArdle saying he looks ‘like a dick’ in face paint) and a brilliantly unexpected cover of John Shuttleworth’s, ‘The Man Who Lives on the M62’. Unique and brilliant as always, tonight is yet another Tiny Pop triumph.  

Tonight’s headliner is a little bit special, even by Tiny Pop standards. Wojtek Godzisz, he of Symposium fame, takes to the stage with his current band to perform an absolutely blinding set of solo material. I’ll be honest; I really had no idea that Godzisz had done so much post-Symposium and just how impressive he was as a songwriter and performer. In this sense, tonight was something of an education. Something of a bearded friendly giant, Godzisz has a suitably huge voice to match as he belts out a set of raw and passionate rock tunes. The likes of ‘The Moon and the Yew Tree’ mix metal influences with Godzisz’s James Dean Bradfield worthy holler to stunning effect and everything is delivered with seemingly boundless energy from the trio on stage.

This is first-class pagan folk-rock and the kind of thing Head Druid Julian Cope would wholeheartedly approve of. ‘Wassail’, with lyrics adapted from the traditional, medieval Gloucestershire wassail, is a rawkus drinking song of the highest calibre while the likes of ‘Burning Ideals’ contain a rough, passionate magic all of their own. The band has travelled a distance to be here tonight but clearly love every single minute as Godzisz laughs and jokes between every song. The crowd at the Fox & Newt seem to agree anyway, with pockets of dancing breaking out throughout the bands formidable set. It’s so uplifting I almost forget about the perpetual rain and darkness waiting outside.

Another jewel to add to the ever glorious Tiny Pop crown and another undeniable success. Next on the list, the last Tiny Pop gig of the year…….

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