Tribes / Sharks / The Brute Chorus @ The Thekla, Bristol 25.04.12

An early start for Thekla tonight, as The Brute Chorus roll up and kick off just after 7.15pm. The bearded Whitechapel chaps whirl through a concise half-hour set, blending bluesy licks with howling, shuddering vocals from singer James Steel into a genre they affectionately term 'Fuck Blues'. Hints of blues-rock contemporaries, The Black Keys, shine through - though the swaggering Londoners seem much more grounded, with songs determined to make you wiggle. There is already a sizeable crowd for the opening act, and the band have no trouble whipping Bristol into a frenzy. From Steel's enigmatic gyrations to the strutting confidence of the band, it's plain to see that The Brute Chorus are grooming themselves for bigger and bolder things. These are ones to watch.

Apr 25th, 2012 at The Thekla, Bristol / By Larry Day
Tribes / Sharks / The Brute Chorus @ The Thekla, Bristol 25.04.12 Sharks grace the nautical stage after a brief interlude, unleashing their brand of high-octane pop-punk. Complete with low-slung guitars and a cornucopia of brain-meltingly finicky riffs, the Leamington Spa lads churn out danceable tunes reminiscent of classic pop-punk groups such as Green Day or Good Charlotte. Vocalist James Mattock slithers across the stage, doused in leather and endlessly charismatic with a voice as sharp as razors. Axeman Andrew Bayliss's furious fretwork is a pleasure to watch - his fingers frolic up and down his guitar with the dexterity of a hummingbird. The combination of massive chords and aggressive, bolshy choruses pleases Bristol tonight, and especially local legend Big Jeff, who bops along to every beat with glee.

Headliners Tribes saunter into view to whirring spotlights and The Clash's iconic track 'London Calling'. Tribes are proving that guitar music isn't dead by reinventing well-trodden standards and constantly surprising at every turn. The Camden foursome reel off festival-sized anthems, and have the audience eating out of the palm of their hand - it's clear, that whilst intimate venues bring a unique experience, Tribes have vastly outgrown them already. Headlining Bristol for the first time, the group smirk smugly to their warm welcome, spewing huge singles 'Sappho' and 'Corner Of An English Field' towards the beginning of their set. Pitch-perfect, and without a note wrong, tonight's set sounds almost exactly like the record - a testament to their raw ability and sheer talent.

From the country-rock inspired slide-guitar of 'Alone Or With Friends' to the lighter-swaying singalong of 'We Were Children', Tribes are enthralling at every turn. At times raucous, and with more balls than a juggling club, other times playing with a glass-like delicacy, the band perform a diverse range of tracks from their debut Baby' and there's something for everyone in this pumped-up set. Festival season is nearly upon us and Tribes are sure to make their mark on 2012.