One of my guilty pleasures is getting into a band months before some other people just so I can be an annoying know all, so when good Twitter folk Yorks Bands tipped a number of shiny new artists including Bradford 5 piece Gauranga, I was stoked to realise I’d soon catch these guys live as support to Liverpool’s mighty Spinn.
With scant seconds to spare, I was in the gig hall of the Parish to catch the full set, and afterwards I had chance to chat a bit with the band (Conrad Berriff – Vocals and Keys, Will Bolton – Guitar, Alex Holdsworth – Guitar, Henry Strangeway – Bass and Dillon Harrison – Drums).
It’s always great to see a few folk down for the support act and the venue was fair buzzing for Gauranga. I noted the band brought quite a tribe of loyal friends over for the gig which gave the place a nice anticipation and enthauastic participation with some of the lyrics being shouted back at the band. I always think it speaks volumes when a band can muster up a loyalty like this, and it clearly cuts both ways as the guys told me: “That’s the most important thing for us. We’re so lucky to have such a supportive and loyal fan base”. The final track of the evening was Butterfly Brain and we were treated to a tight, storming and thrashing version where the mosh pit errupted.
The band were clearly completely stoked to be supporting Spinn having been invited by the Parish to return for a support slot and for their second gig at the venue. The performance was so well fired up as a result. I could tell lead singer Conrad was so expressive, it almost felt like he was urging the audience to come and share the vibe. That energy is infectious and the battle for our attention and pleasure was won with absolutely no fatalities.
In terms of the sound, Gauranga have a pleasing complexity and god these lads can sure make their guitars sing. The 2 guitar and bass combo with support from Conrad’s keys give a huge, full sound. The bass of Henry kept the pace and the rhythm thrusting and pulsing forward and the incredible work rate of drummer Dillon made me think the guy will have the forearms the thickness of Popeye in a couple of years. Conrad’s voice is also far from the standard, with a confident, deep but fairly gentle tone; it is the voice of a story teller and the band explained: “Our songs are inspired by everyday emotions including love and loss that most people are able to relate to”. They suggested the faster the song the more depressing the lyrics become which makes good sense to me; I love the bangers when my head is all over the place.
In style, I got something of the current jaunty chopping beat and a thoughtful relaxed vibe, but mixed in there is a harder indie edge. Live, a couple of the songs transported me right back to the clever sensibilities of someone like Echo and the Bunnymen.
It could be easy for the band to veer more towards what everyone else is doing, but there’s a certain style. The band describe their style as dirty pop and they aren’t wrong as there is plenty of fuzz around the edges.
There are exciting times coming for this young Bradford area based band. On 14th June is the launch of their first EP Miles Apart. The guys confirm that as the title suggests, this is a collection of songs which focuses specifically on the struggles of distance and the impact it can have on a relationship. I have had an EP sneak preview, and I have to say it’s a very inspired piece of work. A full review will follow in due course, but it contains versions of already released tracks Back to Me, and banger Butterfly Brain along with newly prepared tracks.
The EP has been 6 months in the works and the effort has paid off in the quality. The fellas told they practise once a week and have to try and find time where they can between jobs and education.
To support the EP the launch gig is back at the Huddersfield Parish on 17 June after their great experience supporting Spinn. Gauranga are also playing the very tasty looking Weightless festival in Wakefield on 3 August, and Routes Festival in Halifax on the 22 June.