Sunday, 2 June 2013

Tribes // The Roundhouse, London - Review

Originally posted on Little Indie Blogs, but due to technical issues, reposted here with the full article.

If any album needed selling this year, it would be Tribes' sophomore album, "Wish To Scream." After releasing the album to much anticipation from fans, having previously been promised by Johnny as far back as Reading and Leeds last year to come out in January, the album - it's fair to say - has not met critics' expectations. That is not to say the first one had any: the press expected a rocky sound with attitude to match, and after rumours of their guitarist Dan dating Scarlett Johansson, it appears they had got it.

But, then they release this slower, gentler paced album, filled to the brim with idiomatic lyrics: "keep it together, and use this time", "I don't care for dancing, but thanks for asking". Then something magical happened for me. The album clicked: if my elbow was dislocated from the shock of the album release, it was certainly back in place after this triumphant night.

sUPERfOOd


Superfood and Wolf Alice provided the rather wonderful support, and support they did give in the form of musical blessings. Superfood are a band that everyone has heard about it seems, coming out of nowhere to fill our lives with indie music that we are in dire need of, obviously. Their lyrics are verging on 'anthem'-like, but their guitar is as quirky and sharp as your diamond cutter. Their ingenuisly inspired song titled "Superfood" was no doubt a highlight of their set, but they did not have a weak song in their 25 minute performance - these are most definitely a band to look out for, with their debut EP out in September.

Wolf Alice in action


Ellie Rowsell may have been heckled to be "Tinker Bell" throughout the night, but her and Wolf Alice's sound were far from it. Personally, I had heard more of Superfood than them - and that is saying something considering they have just two songs out. Wolf Alice have an intricate guitar soundscape, backed by their incredible drummer. He is definitely one of the most impressive drummers I have seen recently; his ability to keep a beat was playing secondary to his shotgun approach to every part of his drumming. The difference between the quality in Superfood and Wolf Alice was certainly marked by the drummer.

Then it was on to the main attraction, Tribes. They grabbed me at the first hurdle, with "When My Day Comes" kicking off proceedings, followed shortly by the now 'old' fan favourite "Girlfriend." Their consistency with always adding in this and "Not So Pretty" to their homecoming gigs is high, and with a quick check, neither have been on the other setlists. A deserved bonus for the crowd.

Johnny boy


It is undeniable that with the new album, there has been some fairly harsh criticism, of which I myself am guilty of. Johnny took a moment to address this, with a brief mention of this to the endearing crowd. After chanting from the crowd of "who the fuck are NME", he paused before the traditional encore number "Coming of Age" to say: "We know some of you have been here from the start and we thank you for that, and want to let you know this: through the good times and the bad, Tribes will still be here, we'll get through." He clearly knows the reception to the album has been, from some, mediocre, and is looking to squash any fan fears. Very moving tribute to that.

You can tell it is old material coming when he picks up his electric!


As cliché as it is to write, as the final notes reverberated off the Roundhouse, the crowd left happier when they arrived. That is not to say Tribes fans are depressed, but you go to a gig to enjoy yourself - and the crowd certainly did. Crowdsurfing on the very first song was a highlight, and the continued pressure to get closer to the band reveals just how much they are loved. Along with their now much better stage prowess, Tribes have come far and should be going further in the future.

H x

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