Purple Thread Live: not unravelled, more unrivalled

Having hankered after catching American shoe gaze grunge band L.A Witch live for a while, it was an extra goody bag that local Leeds band Purple Thread were opening the show for the recent near sell out Leeds Headrow House gig. Although Purple Thread were up first in the graveyard slot there were still a goodly audience to catch the action and to keep the anticipation lively.

From the off Purple Thread impressed with their pure sass; this is a band of four established and accomplished musicians and it was difficult to see where they put a note wrong. The band were clearly completely in step with the perfectly paced and pitched drumming of Ryan Bailey and the banging bass of James Foreman, while the extra riffs and intricate passages from the lead guitar of Jack Tildsley complimented the pure swagger and voice of lead vocalist Liz Mann. There was plenty of the battle of the axes between Mann and Tildsley with the duel guitar work giving a very rich and full rock sound from the stage.

I’m not always sure that a cover is the best plan, but Purple Thread didn’t go wrong with their cover of David Bowie’s Moonage Daydream. It takes some guts to carry off Bowie and Purple Thread brought it up a level by bringing new aspects of the song through. The band explained it was a last minute addition, and it was a good call. Likewise, the latest bouncing single released track Glitter was another set highlight with plenty of leather swagger from Liz and the guys. Having reviewed this track recently, I was looking forward to hearing it in the flesh, and I wasn’t disappointed.

Musically I got that Purple Thread had the feel of some American bands. Almost from the off I felt something of the relaxed r’n’b loose freestyle of the Doors (I’m thinking of the track Next Life), or the MC5 and then something of the tighter new wave feel of The Idiot period Iggy Pop. Vocally Mann could carry off the crystal style of early Debbie Harry but also mix in the style of the complex musings of a young Patti Smith. Liz Mann is no shrinking violet on stage and she is a natural lead for the band, taking the fight out to her audience.

I like Purple Thread because they aren’t the most immediate or accessible of the bands out there; live there’s lot to immediately enjoy but there’s also plenty of stuff to take home to unwrap and look over later. This is a band that can appeal to both indie and rock fans.

On this showing, it’s well worth hunting down Purple Thread this spring and summer as they are clearly well on form, and fortunately there are a few opportunities; next up Purple Thread play with Courtyards and Palmes at Leeds HiFi Club on Friday April 20th.

Chris R

 

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