Through line-up changes and instrument swapping, Oxford’s This Town Needs Guns might not have known what waited for them in Leeds. But aside from the very strange support acts in this promoter free show and its less than capacity crowd, the three-piece ended up proving just why they are one of the most professional and impressive bands around…
Not wanting to go into too much or too little detail about the three support acts, in essence they weren’t right for the bill. But this wasn’t really their fault, more the night’s organiser of which there was no sign of, ultimately resulting in a sparse crowd, clashing genres, a cold atmosphere and a poorly updated guest list.
As far as I was aware The Well ran the gig in house, but as many of you might know (particularly where certain sub-genres are concerned), you can’t just throw four bands together and expect everything to run smoothly. I’m all for the cross pollination of music types and sects, like for example Dad Rocks touring with Tall Ships might not seem like a perfect fit, but it works. However with an array of childlike enthusiasm and music that wasn’t relatable and often out of context, the evening had a strange atmosphere, feeling more like a group of school kids coming to a rock night at the local youth club. Often I found myself standing in the venue, pint in hand, asking “are we at the right place?” when we were in fact, at the right place. But, I guess now we all know how important good promoters are hey?
Running through the fresh faced bands; crossing moments of pop-punk, soft hardcore and disjointed rock, although not fitting and often hard to listen to, it’s wrong not to take a step back and at least applaud their efforts and support of This Town. They got up on stage and played (whether they were aware of them or not) in front of one of the most exciting and proficient band’s there is.
Coming on stage with their own and personally designed PA system and specialized set up, finally the new singer Henry Tremain and the Collis Brothers were ready to show us exactly why we’d paid seven pound to be at the Well. If any of us had any doubts about the new former-Peninnes lead-singer, they were gone within an instant of the first notes of their set. Louder than any of the other band’s sound, This Town Needs Guns went about putting smiles on the faces of the entire audience, loosening the weird atmosphere and reassuring everyone with technical and precise melodic rock. Never flat and with spot on falsetto, Henry’s voice is a sure fit in the new line up as he play’s a baritone guitar that fits in as the band’s low end. Playing through some of their classics ‘Adventure, Stamina, Anger’ and ‘Chinchilla’; keeping astoundingly true to their record sound, the band really showed their strength in live performance, not to mention their strength in polite and apologetic banter.
With an album coming in 2013 their new material was amazing to experience in a live format, really showing their progression and the tight collective nature that the three piece now put forth. The brand new ‘Cat Fantastic’ is a remarkable encapsulation of the band’s new line up, really boasting everything they have worked for, pushing additive and changing time signatures, remarkable fret work, innovative drum lines and all round ground-breaking sound formation. Finishing with an unplugged version of ‘If I Sit Still, Maybe I’ll Get Out Of Here’ the whole night ended on an absolute high that really made braving the cold Leeds Autumn weather worthwhile.
Listen to This Town Needs Guns new track ‘Cat Fantasic’ HERE
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Words by Andy Crowder