The Scaramanga Six - Brudenell Social Club, Leeds 24.06.2017
The Brudenell is quickly becoming my favourite venue in the UK. Set just outside the centre of Leeds, this former club is becoming well known as a one of the must play stops on any tour. Not only are established bands given a warm welcome there but so are many local bands. The poster showing upcoming events shows a good mix of known and unknown (to me anyway, I'm from out of the area) bands strutting their stuff here.
We arrive about an hour before doors to just relax and hang out. There's already a decent turn out of people who've traveled for the gig, some of them also doing the previous night's event in Huddersfield at the Parish. There's some good food options there including a very nice outdoor pizza van and, of course, the Brudenell's legendary pie selection to help while away the time.
Once inside, we made our way to the Games Room for tonight's event, settling ourselves close to the front. Before long the opening band Thieves Of Misfortune strolled onto the stage. A cool three piece from Leeds, they shook the imaginary desert dust from their boots and kicked into their set. Borrowing from the Desert Sessions and Queens Of The Stone Age, Thieves Of Misfortune carved out a heavy but melodic groove. Some trios can sound a bit thin live but these guys really didn't. Chris Powell lays a tight as backbeat allowing Dan Wilson to put the lead groove down whilst Mark Stainton adds some excellent guitar and weird dancing. Dan's vocals are sweet, weaving some vocal nice melodies into the music. A relatively new band they're definitely worth checking out.
Tropical Contact released an album and an EP of killer tunes before disappearing. However, they're (kind of) back. TC frontman Ben Janet has got together a team of crack musicians and formed Fierce Ideas. Big tunes and fun times seem to be the focus for these guys (newest recruit Victoria Liedtke is absent from these shows) and they take to the stage like it's happy hour in your favourite holiday bar. This version of the band features Davos from Eureka Machines helping out on guitar and backing vocals (fellow EM bud Pete Hulme rocks the bass in FI) and fits in perfectly. Ben bounces around the stage like a hyperactive kitten chasing a ball of wool, not missing a breath. In fact he's so vigerous he ends up accidentally pulling up the stage carpet. Closing their set with single 'Living Love' Fierce Ideas leave the audience happy and satisfied. Here's hoping they get to more recrording pretty damn soon.
The Scaramanga Six are a peculiar band to categorise. Drawing sonic inspiration from bands like The Cardiacs, Wire and The Pixies, their songs have an epic feel with dark macabre lyrics as if they were taken directly from the quill of a dying Edgar Allan Poe. With a new double album "Chronica" about to slip it's chains, the Six have decided it's about time we heard some new songs as well as some old favourites.
Opening with 'Walking Through Houses', they're relentless. Paul and Steve Morricone both take turns with lead vocals throughout the night, with Paul on guitar and Steve on bass and keyboard. Guitar riffs are also peeled effortlessly from the rather glamorous Julia Arnez and her spangly crimson guitar (I couldn't catch the make but it was pretty damn nice). Gareth Champion holds it all together with some insanely tight drumming as well as setting away any backing tracks.
The new tracks sit well with older favourites. With a dark gothic lyrical feel, the new material carries on the Scaramanga Six's twisted take in life. 'My Pet Hate' is a spin on Kafka's 'Metamorphosis' and The Who's 'Boris The Spider', 'Fight Or Flight' reminds me of the old TV series the High Chaparral reimagined as a prog song with some excellent vocal harmonies from the front threesome. 'Stabby Fork' features some pretty cool stacatto vocals and 'The Caretaker' would fit easily into a Faith No More album.
There's light to the shade though. The Six have their tongues firmly planted in their collective cheeks. There's playful cajoling of the crowd between songs whilst 'I Will Crush Your Heart' is introduced as 'Come Dine With Me'.
It feels like it's over too soon, but we're all left feeling satisfied. On the evidence of the new songs played tonight their new album and pledge campaign should be pretty cool. If you've not given them a chance it's probably time you gave yourself chance to succumb to the charms of The Scaramanga Six.
The Scaramanga Six - https://www.facebook.com/thescaramangasix/
Fierce Ideas - https://www.facebook.com/fierceideas/
Thieves Of Misfortune - https://www.facebook.com/thievesofmisfortune/
Review - Scott Hamilton