The view from Far Out: Talk Show, Hyde Park Book Club, Leeds
Famously, The Beatles ended a set in 1963 with ‘Twist and Shout,’ and from the stage at the Royal Variety Performance preceding the final number, a young John Lennon delivered the divisive and derisory remark;
“For the people in the cheaper seats clap your hands and the rest of you, if you’d just rattle your jewellery.”
Punctuated perfectly and delivered with razor wit and a wry smile it felt clear that this band knew something which those in the theatre didn’t. A sign of the times perhaps, but nothing much has changed today, it’s just that now your jewellery rattlers are the trendy elite, who’re more than inclined to fall head over heels for anywhere that houses exposed brickwork, session IPA’s and flimsy MDF built toilet walls. A health and safety nightmare that’s par for the course when it comes to being supposedly underground and underclass (the catacombs of Paris has a 4-star review on Tripadvisor for goodness sake).
The event organisers Indie Banquet, for all their great work at securing these talented young bands, must surely have checked over Hyde Park Book Club and questioned its substance over style? Full time day venue serving coffee and a meeting spot in the Hyde Park/Headingley area of Leeds, but a less than attractive gig venue I’m afraid. It goes without saying that the venue choice seems a little more difficult to comprehend given the fact that the Brudenell Social Club, the famed ex-Working Men’s Club, is situated just minutes away and seemed a more befitting venue for a band with the vibrancy of Talk Show. Firstly, let’s pay more attention to the technically awful sound, seconded by the lighting. A couple of strings of fairy lights gaffa taped to the surrounding walls. Those Paris Catacombs would be less dramatic.
Maybe I’m being hyper critical and beginning a gig review by only talking about the venue is puerile but it’s incredibly distracting when the support band, LD Moses’ vocalist spent the first three minutes singing into a microphone that wasn’t on, before realising that he’d plugged it into the wrong stage amp. Amateur shouldn’t be the counterbalance for subversive subcultures. It’s not all about ‘Eat the rich,’ sometimes investment in competent tradesmen benefits everyone. (Not talking about LD Moses being incompetent, their frontman finally grew in stature after his goof, although it took all set to do so with quite a few puzzled faces).
By the time Egyptian Blue came on and headliners Talk Show arrived, a furtive mood held the audience. They just wanted them to be good. And it goes to show if you want good tradesmen to do a good job, get them booked. Egyptian Blue shook the ground with a shimmering performance. Intelligent and well-crafted angular guitar work. Just angrier than what we’re used to. Holding sway with the American sounds of Preoccupations, No Age and Ought that dovetailed UK’s post-punk scene a few years back. The hyperbole of this Brighton band should carry them as far as it can, just as we’ve seen the baton passed from Idles to Fontaines DC to The Murder Capital. Then on stage, cut from the same cloth, Talk Show embraced us with a shot of electricity. However, not before lead singer Harrison Swann kicked off proceedings by asking a member of the audience for some shots of the other kind…
“…well if you’re offering, mate make it four tequilas.”
They all scamper off briefly, like a bunch of delinquents who’ve just been caught smoking behind the bike sheds, presumably to do a quick pre-gig ritual. With a round of applause, they return to stage and proceed to yelp and bounce about without any embarrassment. It’s clear their lynchpin in all matters post-punk, is frontman Swann, who provides an air of theatricality about him. Firmly planted stage centre, looking like a bad Dickensian actor reciting Shakespeare soliloquies, he jerks about pulling all manner of shapes. Fully immersing yourself in what it’s like to have fun and being in a band is the clique you get from a live Talk Show gig, a thing that’s often missing in new music and what I totally admire about the South London four piece.
There’s little combustibility in their performance, as coming across all maudling and banal is a genuine antithesis, even as they fill your head with dystopian visions. Now that’s something special we can all shake our jewellery too.