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Forward Russia, iLiKETRAiNS, Yes Boss, Duels

The Cockpit, Leeds on 23 August 2006
Reviewed by Dave on 24th August 2006

It had been miserable for most of the day but that didn't dampen my spirits because I knew that in a few hours I would be in the uncomfortably hot and sweaty Cockpit watching Forward Russia throw themselves around the stage, I would have a pint and all would be good. It was throwing it down as I waited for the bus, which (as is usual for First Buses) was late.

Arriving at the Cockpit I notice that both rooms are open, which is a bit odd, what is more odd is that both rooms are set up for bands to play in. Clearly something is afoot, and it turns out that a lot of bands are playing tonight. I've already missed 'Shut Your Eyes and Burst into Flame' and 'That Fucking Tank', which is a shame as I quite like Shut Your Eyes and I've never seen That Fucking Tank when I get there Yes Boss are just coming onto the stage.

Yes Boss

Yes Boss are a hip-hop duo, now I am no fan of hip-hop but Yes Boss are the kind of thing that I could listen to. There is none of the ego that I associate with other hip-hop artists; their lyrics are often funny and self-depreciating.

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My favourite song from their set was Indie Kids, a song about everyone in an unsigned band, how indie bands sound the same and how indie kids are 'eternal students' dressing like their uncles did in 1973. The rest of their set was good and I found myself bobbing along.

I felt that when Tom from Forward Russia lent his distinctive vocal talents to one song, the two styles clashed too much and Tom's vocals failed to gel with the hip-hop beat, but he is in an indie band so what can you expect, eh?

Rating: 8/10
Website: www.myspace.com/yesboss1

Duels

I didn't catch all of the set by Duels, but from what I heard it was decent indie-pop, one song really caught my attention with the chorus line of "what does he do for you that I can't?" or something very similar, the vocals were strong and the riffs were catchy and the kind of thing that you couldn't really complain about hearing.

From what I heard they weren't stand out amazing but they weren't utter shit either. The rating below is based on what little of their set I did see.

Rating: 8/10
Website: www.duelsmusic.com

iLiKETRAiNS

Ever since getting Progress Reform I have wanted to see iLiKETRAiNS live, I was intrigued as to how the slow often melancholic songs would translate into a live set also, I really cannot stop listening to them.

The band opens with Citizen and then A Rook House for Bobby, like all TRAiNS songs they start slow and quiet as they build to a crescendo that almost becomes a wall of white noise. David Martin's vocals are the same as on record, deep and slow. While the music on record has energy behind it, it is nothing compared to how much the band put into their live performance, you haven't seen a live show until you have seen five men in British Rail jackets rock out on stage.

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During the closing song, Stainless Steel (which happens to be my favourite song from Progress Reform), Ashley Dean the coronet player climbs up the amp and sits there until its time for his coronet to kick in and then he throws himself into the crowd, he is carried a few rows back only to be dropped and then have to clamber back up onto the stage. The band end the song with a wall of feed back and distortion with Guy Bannister frantically hitting his distortion pedals while his guitar wails.

iLiKETRAiNS are a band that everyone should see live, their energy translates easily to the crowd and it's difficult to resist singing along.

Rating: 10/10
Website: www.iliketrains.co.uk

Forward Russia

The last time I saw Forward Russia was in the cramped upstairs of a pub with about 100 other people, now I'm seeing them play to a packed out Cockpit, there was literally no room to move and the heat was nigh on unbearable.

As soon as the band begins the first song of their set the crowd surges toward the stage, its not long into the set before the first crowd surfer is led off the stage and pretty soon nearly everyone is doing it, hell, people are even stage diving. One girl goes to stage dive but the crowd parts and she is left with no choice but to climb down rather sedately, at this point I laughed to myself.

The band jump, scream, shout and body pop themselves through all the hits including Thirteen, Fifteen Part 1, Sixteen and many others from their debut album, they also treat the crowd to a new song. The energy that the band had on stage, was phenomenal and it is easy to see why they have such a big following, they seem to genuinely love to play live.

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This was the last time that the band would headline a gig in Leeds, but they will be back supporting Wolfmother (a perfectly good Iron Maiden cover band) and will be appearing at Leeds Festival, go see them if you get the chance, you won't be disappointed.

If the band were on top form at the Cardigan Arms they were simply on another level here, which leaves me with a conundrum, this show deserves more than 10/10.

Rating: 10/10
Website: www.forwardrussia.com

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