Gig Report: Tall Ships @ The Fleece

Back in Leeds, still waking up on a surprisingly comfy couch…


I wish you a good morning from the delightful red-brick houses of Leeds. I am currently at a fellow music junkie’s house, but probably the original house owners had a rather questionable obsession with Buddy Holly. Anyway, sorry for the tangent, I blame the post-wake up ramble. A couple of nights ago, back in Bristol, I joined Tall Ships at the Fleece,  which is undoubtedly my best-loved music-destination, for the first date of the “Everything Touching” tour. The common thread between the support acts was the synth-driven sound. First on stage were the local Oliver Wilde, delivering a combination of fuzz and electro-beat, which blurred the overall sound and sidelined the vocals – or it may just be me being next to the left amps. The music itself moved towards a general chill-wave ground, adding Dirty Beach-esque distortions to the steady tempo. The overload of sounds however did not convince me fully, so I’ll give them another try on the Net.

Instead, main support Emperor Yes, a London-based math-rock band were definitely my cuppa tea. Synth-infusedBattles-esque samples, animal-focused lyrics and playful attitude a là Bearsuit (on top of whimsical falsetto-backing vocals) was the smooth yet effective formula the band delivered. A bit of the 80s electro-salsa whisked with a lot of energy, and you ended up with an half-an-hour of contented nodding.

Last but not least, Tall Ships came on stage with its grungy-fuzz aura and not-so-dreamy experimental punch (playing the comparison game, I’d suggest Local Natives with a less naive aura)The music itself was even more potent on stage, highlighting the shoegaze-y undertone more than the indie-rock core of the new album. Indeed, the occasional almost-reached wall of sound, perfectly blended in the dreamy-rock in songs like Gallops and T=O. A final note on the encore, when lead singer Rich Phetean came back on stage starting off his own version of Robbie William’s “Angels”. Epic. As if it wasn’t enough controversial describing tall Ships sound through laptop speakers, now, if I come to think of the shortest and punchiest tagline I’ll simply say: Experimental fuzzy rock you may fall in love with.

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