Pub and bar week nights out in August student-free-zone Huddersfield are rarely notable for their banging qualities. While the H2N promoted Parish Pump event headlined by Kashmere sadly wasn’t rammed, the broad mix of music on offer and the energy of the performances gave the town a rare Thursday night exuberance, and I wish more had witnessed it.
I don’t think anyone could but be massively impressed by the gutsy force and wall of sound busting forth from Stockport’s Kashmere, the headline act. I recently wrote a glowing review for Halfway 2 Nowhere for Kashmere’s brilliant new summer tune Hoxton, but performing live the band are on another level; they are pretty much perfect and the real deal.
Kashmere’s origins came from inspiration gained while watching the Arctic Monkeys at Glasto on BBC TV in 2013, and they’ve clearly come a long way since. It’s crude and insensitive to simply pigeon hole anyone’s sound to just one household name, but I think Catfish and the Bottlemen fans would certainly take to the Kashmere vibe, but as much as I like Catfish (and I saw the band 4 or 5 times back in the day), I’d certainly roll with Kashmere being the more complex musicians. It’s the case that Kashmere didn’t place a note out of place, and even Joey’s unintentional slight vocal fade towards the end of the set was stylish.
Another banging highlight of the Kashmere set was the second single Porcelain, which with those swirling jangling notes sounded a whole heap better live than on record. There’s something very attractive about swagger and cocksure in music and on stage these men have cool in spades. Musically straightforward and tight, the two thrashing guitars and perfectly timed bass and drums soon had me grinning from ear to ear. Add in that these Kashmere lads perfectly fit their skinny black jeans and boots look and I’m predicting their future will be bright. I left the evening with buzzing ears, in happy spirit but ruefully regretting alas I’m the age (and size) where wearing skinny jeans again would be a huge fashion faux pas; strut in them while you can.
I was so taken with Kashmere that I also toddled along to another part of their promo tour; this time the following Saturday they performed a stellar acoustic set amongst the tidy sweaters, shirts and slacks of the Manchester branch of Fred Perry’s. The magic word was “free”. I had much pity for the bloke who arrived to buy something, as he had to browse amongst a shop full of hip swivelling, foot tapping hipsters. The band proved they were as tight as can be with an almost flawless acoustic guitar performance.
As amazing and elegant as Kashmere’s performance was, delightfully that was not the only show in town this evening. With the 4 band gig format there’s always someone else to discover. My gig buddy, 18 year old Otis declared opening act Peach to be his personal favourite of the event. I found Peach an engaging and promising three piece, where the lead female vocals of Edna Sulejmanovic has to my ear something of a country music quality but which is thrust headlong into a heavy screaming guitar setting. Otis decided he had just witnessed the most stylish Edna ever.
Sulejmanovic offered some great finger plucking skills executed high up the neck of the guitar which worked well, but I couldn’t help but wonder what the sound of the interesting Peach would be like if the vocals and lead guitar were performed separately, and total time devoted to each stream. I’d love to hear more of Peach in a recording studio, and they intend to release their first single next month which will be truly worth exploring.
Second up on the evening bill, and with another change in pace and style was the Leeds based OtherPeoplesLives with a more complex set of dreamy and swirling tunes to share. I really enjoyed their multi layer sound, and I got something of Adam Green or perhaps even Ian Curtis-lite with the rich, deep and dulcet tones of lead singer Matthew Pease-Bower.
The lush OtherPeoplesLives are far more noteworthy than simply pondering whether “Peoples” should have an apostrophe and whether the lack of spacing has a deep meaning, and I particularly appreciated their more complex and less immediately catchy sound. OtherPeoplesLives are definitely one that I’ll look to hunt down more of in future.
Main support to Kashmere were the mightily professional and impressive Red Light Effect. I could tell they were “Manchester” (well OK Salford, or “Manchester West”, as the Holiday Inn cheekily describe it) as soon as I clapped eyes on the lead singer Dale Scott’s clothing and poise, let alone before he opened his mouth. Red Light Effect are a slightly older group and the experience tells through their very professional, polished guitar music sound.
There’s a rich pedigree of Manchester music threaded through the Red Light Effect sound, and I particularly got something of the late lamented Doves in the pacing and style and gentle threading melody. There were elements which also took me back to the 1980’s and the doom laden likes of The Chameleons and Sheffield’s magnificent Comsat Angels. The current single is the July released Full of Nothing, and the band performed it flawlessly with the plaintive edge to Dale Scott’s voice giving it a top notch sound.
While I would have been happy with just checking out Kashmere, this experience does demonstrate that it’s worth turning up early to check out the support bands. Likewise, it helps that the Parish Pump is a relaxed, venue, with the acts in a barn in the back yard; it means that everyone there, is there purely for the music. Overall this was a top Halfway 2 Nowhere Huddersfield night.