As good as a nice cup of tea, and a sit down.

Friday, 26 February 2010


Hi All, below is the Sunshine Underground review, which can be found on the BBC Leeds website here.

The Sunshine Underground – Leeds Academy, 19th February

The Sunshine Underground have not exactly received a fair hearing from the British music press in their career so far: carelessly lumped in with the defunct ‘new rave’ only to be jettisoned with rest of it when it was deemed to be a Trojan (neon?) horse. But whilst the likes of The Klaxons had their Mercury Prize notoriety to cushion the blow, The Sunnies, who in fact have a much straighter up rock appeal than their sometime associates, found themselves stuck in the vacuum. Four years without a second release hasn’t helped. But anyone in doubt of their dedicated support should have showed up tonight to witness the fervent homecoming for Leeds’ favourite adopted sons.

The Academy is already filling up by the time Club Smith take to the stage early doors. Formerly another rave/discopop casualty, you may know Club Smith as The Hair, in which case you might remember ‘Hooker’ or the belting chorus to ‘Disco/Retro.’ My memories of that song are fond enough, but the novelty of the old songs never really had staying power. But what a difference a couple of years make: With the new name comes a pared-down collection of new, more mature songs and their throwaway aspect has been, well, thrown away. Tonight they debut songs from new release ‘The Loss EP,’ the title of which suggests that their music has been weathered by a little life experience. The saddened tones and sharp timing of songs like ‘Lament’ and ‘Courtyard’ pitch them alongside the likes of White Lies, and the performance is worthy of the appreciation it garners by the end.

With their dance influenced sound and Leeds fan base, Club Smith would have been an ideal choice for the main support slot this evening. But the tour support is in fact the rather baffling choice of Cosmic Jarvis, whose brand of Pogues-flavoured drudgery floats like as a lead balloon. Having said that it’s packed to the rafters by the time they leave the stage, but the general air is one of anticipation.

The excitement spills over (quite literally – pints are flying everywhere) by the time The Sunnies take the stage. The rapturous applause never lets up all night, and they show their appreciation in return by delivering a razor sharp, tight set. In reality it’s still the ‘Borders’ and ‘Put You in Your Place’s of their repertoire that cause the most excitement, where the crowd slams against the barrier, holdin their arms to the ceiling and sing along. But whilst not all the new material flies perfectly, there are a couple of stand out new additions, notably the title track from ‘Nobody’s Coming to Save You’ which takes the band to new levels of histrionics. After a set that seems shorter than it probably is, they bow out to a sea of jubilant (and very sweaty) faces.

The Academy goes dark but the crowd remain, chanting ‘Leeds!’ as if it was Elland Road on a Saturday afternoon, only to be rewarded when they return to the stage and finish with a raucous, beat-driven version of ‘Put You In Your Place.’ Scenes and fads may erode away in time, but it’s clear after tonight that writing The Sunshine Underground would be a foolish thing indeed.

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