Scarling (This Et Al and Amusement Parks on Fire)
Joseph's Well, Leeds on 12th May 2006
Reviewed by Dave on 17th May 2006
This Et Al
First onto the stage were This Et Al, a local four piece, often compared to fellow Loiners ¡Forward, Russia!, they were greeted with ripples of applause and then they burst into their opening number. What followed was a gloriously noisy set, which by the third song, an explosive little ditty called 'Catscan', had left the boys sweaty and looking exhausted.
The final song left the crowd wanting more and the boys didn't want to disappoint on their home turf, so they decided to play an impromptu encore of the excellent 'Wardens', my personal favourite.
This Et Al are something else, a welcome change from most young bands in Leeds who seem to be obsessed with heavy metal and Pantera, I would welcome more bands like these lads, also they have a new single out on Monday called 'Sabbatical' I suggest that you check them out.
Amusement Parks on Fire
Next up were Amusement Parks on Fire, a band with an ace name and that I have heard talked about in various circles but had never actually heard until now. They weren't quite what I expected, for some reason whenever I hear their name I think of Arcade Fire, this is probably because they share the word "fire" in their names. Amusement Parks on Fire are a band with obvious metal influences.
Their opening song mixes crashing guitars with smooth vocals rather well, after this first song the vocals become much more raw and the energy displayed by the band only increases, so much so that the singer feels it necessary to remove his vest, something he says he has never had to do before, "We're not Metallica", he is quick to point out then. He then changes his mind "Actually, we are Metallica", as if we could have mistaken these brash, young metal kids for the ageing metal dinosaurs.
For me the highlight of their set was 'Phonetic', people are no longer just tapping their feet; there is actual dancing going on, and even a two person moshpit. After the set, I felt that my faith in the heavier side of music had been somewhat restored.
After two bands I rather enjoyed I was expecting something from Scarling. I'm not exactly sure what it was I was hoping for, but the only thing that is certain is that Scarling simply failed to deliver it.
Clearly they are a talented bunch, in so far as they can play their instruments. Very capable guitar riffs were backed up with decent drumming, I think what must have put me off were the vocals, and they seemed dull and lacklustre. Also, I didn't really want to see a chubby girl throwing herself around a stage with a tambourine, I'm sure that there are websites that cater to that kind of thing. No offence love, but you have to enunciate.
None of the songs particularly engaged me, so much so that I cannot remember any of the titles. I felt they lacked the stage presence of the first two bands, when Amusement Parks on Fire and This Et Al were playing I felt compelled to watch what was happening on stage, with Scarling however I found that I was looking everywhere but the stage. The floor could use a clean, by the way.
I suppose that if you were a fan of the band then you might have enjoyed the show, the lack of shouts for an encore after Scarling left the stage however seem to indicate otherwise, perhaps the fans were as unimpressed as I was. In fact as soon as the last song was over it seemed that people couldn't wait to get out of there, it was like a venue where they had just announced that Chris De Burgh was about to play, I hung around for about 10 minutes to let the crowd disperse, during which time I saw one of the band come out looking hopeful, clearly they wanted to play an encore, but no one actually wanted to hear it.
It's nice to know that the future of the Leeds music scene is in some very capable hands, and the gig was enjoyable, provided you just forget about Scarling, something that I am seeking therapy to do.
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