Brit rockers shake up Leeds' music scene

Tigerbombs explode at The Library Pub

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Matthew Baxter

Letters from Leeds is a feature by Gazette writer, Gennelle Smith. Smith is currently on exchange in England, and will be dispatching articles about the local music scene to Canada.

Tigerbombs w/ Lemons & Limes and Matthew Baxter
Jan. 9 @ The Library Pub

LEEDS, UK â€" The most striking aspect of the Leeds music scene, even amidst its many accolades, is its remarkable consistency.

With unsigned acts constantly performing at the city’s numerous clubs, bars and concert spaces, it would seem easier to find dozens of brain-meltingly awful bands than real talent. Instead, this year it is proving difficult to find the terrible amongst the inspired.

Opening the inaugural show for student-haven The Library Pub’s “Paint the Walls” band night was acoustic singer-songwriter Matthew Baxter, whose blues-tinged guitar picking and suitably soulful wailing belied his youth.

Baxter’s easy banter and natural stage presence gave his songs, both originals and covers, a lightness akin to acoustic soul searchers like James Morrison. His voice, however, raised the bar: in songs like “Lost” and “Look Away,” his was the sexiest voice you’d hear this side of Morrison and Ray LaMontagne’s love child.

The night’s next band, Leeds hard-rocking duo Lemons & Limes, proved that the biggest bands are not necessarily the loudest. Guitarist Daniel Hill provided pedal-driven chords for drummer Aimee Robinson’s intense beats, producing an impassioned mix that, while heavy, never threatened to overwhelm.

Despite the inevitable comparisons to the White Stripes, the duo demonstrated that quick-as-lightning performances can set a band apart as much as the quality of its songs.

The real story, however, was Robinson. Playing with fervour, all eyes were on her for the duration of songs like “Feed the Drummer” and “I Want Never Gets,” despite guitarist Hill’s more-than-adequate guitar and vocal performance. As Hill said, with a touch of pride, “Aimee’s actually 90 per cent of the band.”

The show got quirkier from there as the final act of the night handily proved.

Tigerbombs

Leeds native Tigerbombs, eclectic quartet of indie rockers, the last act of the evening and played a breezily unconventional set. The band’s unassuming stage presence quickly gave way to feel-good Britpop that manifested as an earthier, subtler version of the Flaming Lips.

From the first time lead singer and guitarist Dan Webster picked up his trumpet, however, the night only got better. Making use of the xylophone, keyboard, acoustic and electric guitar as well as a single snare drum, the band’s multi-layered sound benefited from the chances it took.

Tigerbombs’ standout tracks, “Aphrodizzy Acrobat” and “Martian Woman,” were upbeat enough to induce the more adventurous showgoers to spontaneous interpretative dance, and the more dour bystanders to crack an appreciative smile.

Though the crowd was small and the space was intimate, the night’s three acts, each with a different sound to call its own, were a testament to the city’s robust cultural scene.

With a refreshingly light and funny atmosphere, The Library’s band night should grow to be a regular showcase of the best down-to-earth, talent Leeds has to offer.

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