Gig Review: Swine Tax / The Klittens / No Teeth / New Horror
Swine Tax gigs are those of extreme energy and consistent enjoyment. Every lineup that this band host, is well crafted and exciting, whilst also managing to be different and more diverse than the last.
The band reel in musicians from abroad, and of course our trusty local area, to concoct events of great vigour, indie music and diversity.
Every time I go to one of their gigs I am reunited with local bands that are loved, as well as being exposed to new bands that I had no idea existed, and that is something so crucial to the music scene.
For this evening’s incarnation, New Horror were the first band to play at the Star and Shadow.
Consisting of a bassist, lead guitarist and a vocalist who operated (what seemed to be) a drum machine sample pad, the band started their set off with some hesitation and a few technical errors. As digital technology often does, the sample pad seemed to be providing the band with a few difficulties.
However everything was sorted within a few minutes and New Horror played their music excellently, seemingly forgetting that anything had even happened; I think most people had also forgotten a few seconds into their first track.
The band played their modernised indie music with intimidating guitar riffs, drum machine beats and fuzzy bass notes. Their whole sound was just very controlled and synced, they clearly knew how to blend newer electronic music with classic indie, fuzzy rock.
The vocals had a high distorted, reverb and delay effect on them which made it hard to understand what the vocalist was saying to us in-between songs, but ultimately made New Horror sound even more authentic and pulsed.
Next up were No Teeth, joined by Serfa's Dan Proud on the kazoo. The culmination of No Teeth's gruesome sound, with their many members, many instruments and frontman Sam's alternation between guitar and trumpet, means that they are a live sound engineer's utter nightmare.
However, the Star and Shadow's volunteer sound man for the night (sadly I didn’t catch his name) mixed the band pretty much perfectly.
He was thanked notably on stage and No Teeth played a classic set that included some of their newer tracks, which were pretty much second nature for their reoccurring fans by now, while ending their set with one of their oldies in the form of 'Savers Teabags'.
All of the way from The Netherlands, The Klittens played the Star and Shadow as part of their UK tour supporting York band BULL, with of course tonight being an exception. This girl-power band of empowering feminist lyrics and clever stripped indie rock were the highlight of my night.
The room was enchanted by their guitars and their coveted indie status of being a small band touring in a foreign country in a small DIY venue, playing to a crowd of no more than 100 people a night and travelling about in a van just big enough to fit them all and their instruments in. They played the Star and Shadow with confidence and power, making no mistakes and protruding nothing but lively indie sounds. The Klittens are friends with the band KIEFF, a band from Oegstgeest in the Netherlands, who also played with Swine Tax months ago at the Tyne Bar while being on tour in the North East. When I interviewed KIEFF, one of the bands that they recommended that I listen to was The Klittens, so you can imagine my excitement when I saw their name on the posters.
Finally, the headliner Swine Tax acquired the stage, welcoming their synth player for the night Euan and riling everybody up for the launch of their new track 'Grand Prix'. A loud, witty entrance and the jazzy decorations dotted all around Star and Shadow prepared the audience for what they already knew was going to be an invigorating culmination of the night. I was excited to hear whatever the band was ready to come out with next as all of Swine Tax's other singles have just been so well written and produced.
Vince's stage presence is always so loud and encapsulating that I find it quite hard not to move. People danced all night and the tightly packed venue was hard to wade through for toilet trips or bar trips as everyone was just fixated on the stage. People were grooving and moshing and just listening.
Swine Tax put on yet another highly successful launch show for another one of their singles, 'Grand Prix'. The band continually make the music scene a better and more diverse place, introducing new bands and always switching their lineup up. If you have never been to one of their shows, I heavily urge you to go to one.
Cover Photo: The Klittens
Photography: Kim Leschonski