Now those who love music and genuinely love music know when they discover something special. Unfortunately Able’s Army didn’t do that for me when I first listened to them (yeah unexpected start to this article I know). However, all it took was the volume on 2016 release Sober Side of Tipsy, to be turned up and I swiftly realised just how wrong I was and after seeing them live on 4th February realised that they really are something special.
The set on the night was a perfect mix of rock, roll, indie and grunge rock which I have since termed “Brit-pop Beatles”. Some highlights of the set included Astronaut and Brewery Tour both of which maximised the vocal ability of both James and Mike whilst preserving their excellent rock ‘n’ roll sound. The band have an incredible energy that comes through so well and all three of them bounce off each other and have the ability to relax and enjoy their music which at this early stage of their career is a feat in itself.
Closing with Crawl and Sober Side of Tipsy the band established themselves as one of Yorkshire’s leading lights and set what was an excellent night of music off really well. Balancing harmonies, riffs and intricate lead guitar – the band have such potential it would have been criminal not to have a chat with them before they’re in the big leagues. We caught up with all three of them (very late in the night after a number of beverages had been consumed) after their set.
So how was the set?
MIKE: I actually really enjoyed it it was good. It was like, the biggest gig we’ve done. Well, the biggest venue we’ve played definitely. Big thanks to Lucy and Lisa!
For those that don’t know you how would you describe your music?
M: I’d say it’s sort of indie – we always say indie rock n roll but for me it’s maybe a bit more garage rock. A times it’s like brit-pop but then at times it’s proper grungy and then real indie music.
And who’s influenced you and the band to write in this way?
M: I think in terms of the three of us, the staples, we all sort of listen to Bowie, Beatles, Arctic Monkeys and the Strokes. That’s the like four bands we all listen to and like. In terms of myself, my taste is a bit more out there than the other two..
And then..An incredible interruption to the interview as two women questioned James
“Do you know who you like?” Was answered swiftly by Mike “Elijah Wood”. The girls were amazed by the fast response and concluded that it was the “eyes and hobbitness” that did it. I feel the girls had contrasting opinions on this as one suggested “Elijah Wood is hot as fuck” whilst the other simply said “He does look like Frodo doesn’t he..” Moving on..
What was it that made you start playing?
J: I picked up bass because I had to because we’ve had issues with bassists and I was originally guitar and I loved it but we just had people who weren’t committed enough. I just thought fuck it I’ll do it.
How long have you been as a 3?
J: As a three less than a year
M: Yeah probably eight or nine months but this is the final lineup
J: Unless we get a bassist..Then I can just sing
Obviously last year you released Sober Side of Tipsy?
M: Good actually. We’re just finishing off our EP we’ve just got a few more vocals to put down and should be done within the month. Our next gig round here is the 4th March at Parish and hopefully that’ll all be done by then.
Yeah the Huddersfield scene is buzzing right now right?
M: My quarm with the Huddersfield music scene is that Parish does like really well if you’re into a certain type of music. If you’re not into really heavy stuff then it’s difficult. They don’t get the same level of bands that are into other music.
Once again Elijah was interrupted..
“Do you get it often when people call you Elijah?” To which Mike replied “I do yeah”. With shouts of “Is that Frodo doing a fucking gig?” And “you’ve got the same look as him but don’t look like him” the girls were horrified to find out the whole conversation was being recorded.
M: But yeah they (Parish) do alright if you’re into heavy music they get a decent level of bands like maybe the equivalent of the cribs but they won’t get them. I think maybe because indie is more popular than the heavier stuff so even though they get the same level it’s still more difficult to get them bands.
J: I mean we’ve played there, Palmes played there the other night. Maybe they do cater for those genres at a local level but at a wider level it’s more the heavy stuff specifically.
Cool and have you had any gig highlights outside of here and Huddersfield?
M: We had a class gig at The Zanzibar in Liverpool when there were four of us.
J: Yeah we sort of lost a bit of momentum after we became a three because we all had to relearn the songs or at least I did. It was a lot of time wasted to be knocked down.
M: At the end of last year we played in Halifax with some German band. It wasn’t right in Halifax centre it was right out in the sticks but it was a class gig, really good. There were two bands it was just us and the heavy German band proper like metal but the crowd liked anything, whatever you played, it was just good. There was a guy called Shane as well who came to see us tonight who put us on in October in Halifax he’s class.
And any real low points?
George: That Ukrainian pub. It had a stage but..
M: Fucking hell yeah we don’t talk about that. That’s a stain on the past of Able’s Army – that’s rock bottom front us.
J: That was not our Knebworth. But you live and learn – pick yourself up from shit gigs. You need them, you’ve got to put the effort in or it’ll happen again and that is not happening again.
2017 then, what’s the big plan?
M: Got loads of gigs actually – we’ve got Sheffield booked a couple of times and they’ve always been good. Got 2 booked in April – we’re gonna do them and we’re gonna crack Sheffield, we’re gonna conquer Sheffield. We’ve then got Leeds on 31st March at the Library playing with Brazen and playing a gig with a Liverpool band called Cabezudos in Huddersfield.
Thanks so much to the lads in AA, good luck with the EP. Hope to catch up with them soon. Check out new single Toluca to the North here