Sunday, 27 May 2012

The Situation First Birthday all-dayer@ The Central Club, Leek 27th May 2012

Review by Charlotte Lunt
Photo by Robert Egan

There aren’t many things that could drag me to Leek of a sunny evening; however The Situation celebrating their first birthday with an all dayer has proved to be one of those things, at least for a couple of hours.

Arriving just in time to catch the last couple of songs from Cherry Lightening, I was honestly disappointed to see how few folks had made the effort to come down to the Central Club to support the event. But nevertheless this didn’t seem to have put the band off their stride as they finished their set with a high speed cover of The Wombats ‘Let’s dance to Joy Division’. This provided the opportunity to speak to one of the organisers, Simon Edwards, who was brimming with enthusiasm and clearly enjoying the evening.

He explained that The Situation run 2 monthly nights in Leek, usually hosted at the Foxlowe Arts Centre, and that over the year they’ve been able to spread their wings and have been attracting acts of great calibre not only from the local area, but also the wider environs.

The first full set I saw was from The Taskers, who did a stripped down session for the radio show earlier this month, so this proved to be an ideal opportunity to hear their ‘plugged in’ sound.  I wasn’t prepared for the rawness in both sound and delivery, and always liking it when a band surprises me, this was a good thing. Tearing through a set of clever melodies and syncopation that were coupled with prophesising and contemplative lyrics they provided a solid set of quality tuneage.

It’s refreshing to see a band that rely solely on the quality of their song writing rather than persona – perhaps this unassuming approach is because as a two piece they are quite exposed, with little to hide behind.
In addition to the Pearl Jam influences they cited on the show, I’m hearing a tad of Frank Black, and a trace of Eric Clapton amongst others, which in combination work well and provide a swath of different approaches and delivery from the band. My favourite song of the set was ‘Itch’- which features on their brand new album – full of juxtaposition, contradiction and friction, it keeps you on the edge of your seat like a good psychological thriller.

Next up were the recommended Gravity Dave, who started out on a set of solid rock. At this point I must confess that I was having reservations about them, that is until they threw out ‘Let’s pretend’, which tore along at a cracking pace with vocals and lead guitar challenging each other for the spotlight. Moving swiftly into ‘Romantic Comedy’ I’m more than pleasantly surprised as having judged this book by its cover, this was a more edgy, contemporary composition than I’d expected, so apologies to the band and hats off for keeping me on my toes.

I have to say that whilst this was not a visually dynamic performance, it was slick and they consistently delivered solid well crafted songs, and anyone who can write a song called ‘Cattle’, can’t be doing too much wrong in my book. The ‘Steps of Heathrow’ was reminiscent of the erstwhile Red Wedge movement in its social commentary and edginess, and that drew their set to a close.

Although, I was only able to stay for a short while, this showed that the hard work that The Situation are doing to bring quality artists to Leek, is paying off. I’d really recommend having a trip out to some of their forthcoming gigs – which having had a sneaky look at the rosta – will be well worth it.

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