Glass Caves + Val Cale + Red Rum Club + Red Kites
April 4, 2015
Glass Caves are probably the best known buskers in York, excluding that guy with the electric violin. So could they pull off a headline slot at a proper venue, like, or are they best suited to just receiving loose change on the streets outside Hawkins’ Bazaar?
Leeds’ own Val Cale were the first of three supports on Saturday, performing their stylish psyche-blues to a filling Fibbers, reminiscent to me of other Yorkshire faves Asio’s Eyes, and like The Picturebooks last month they proved to be the best support act despite being first on the bill.
Their tracks were sludgy, bass driven and sprawling, surely impressing the headliners who were watching on anonymously with the rest of the audience – truly spot-on openers, their lackadaisical tunage reverberating around the room and creating a chilled vibe as people meandered in with drinks and mates in tow.
Following their regrettably brief set were Red Rum Club, who were fine but by no means unique.
Their songs were guitar-driven, on the verge of poppy, but not particularly memorable, though they have only released one solitary single – the half-decent Where Nobody Goes – and I liked their use of two-part harmonies, sparing as it was, in certain tracks of theirs, particularly their concluding singalong anthem which unfortunately I have no idea the name of.
They’re perhaps ones to keep half an eye on as they’re recording new material as we speak, maybe indicating more interesting musical developments for the Liverpool five-piece.
Red Kites were a bit better for my money. These indie boys brought shimmering, harmonic film-trailer style music (if you don’t know what I mean, listen to Beat In Time and imagine laughing young people running through fields) to an expectant audience, and honestly, they delivered.
They brought cool syncopated tracks like Moth To A Flame, which contained a lovely hooky guitar line that reminded me of New Navy’s brilliant Zimbabwe that occasionally got buried beneath all the different melodies and rhythms being performed, as well as their panoramic latest single Salt Water with its clever use of loop pedals to build a large, warm sound.
Jan Cees Samsom was probably the most memorable Kite, the ‘keyboardist’ more often than not wandering around stage right sporadically bashing a tambourine, adding an element of dynamism and randomness to an otherwise tight, intricate alt-rock group.
Having all bowed symmetrically in a lovely pastiche of the hilariously polite performers in pop’s early years, it was now time for Glass Caves to enter.
Toweringly skinny David Luiz-lookalike Matthew Hallas had immense presence from the moment his black-jacketed silhouette swept into the spotlight.
Him and the boys launched into best-known track Go, an immense track that within a few thrilling bars immediately blew away everything that had been presented in the previous couple of hours and caused a mass singalong to break out, demonstrating the sheer strength of their local fan base.
Every song that followed was a true tune, taut and rhythmic headbangers that smashed the energy levels in the room through the roof with anthemic lyrics to boot, from “let gooooooo” to the magnificently yearning Be Together.
Local teen band The Shots were in attendance, soaking up every second of Glass Caves’ 50-minute set, perhaps the ultimate compliment for the headlining group of young York lads with the next generation stood in awe in the front row.
Their effortless swagger and aura certainly set an outstanding benchmark, Hallas yelling “Let’s see you get involved, Fibbers!” before Fibbers really did get involved – as close to a mosh pit as humanly possible at the venue broke out, the electrified crowd jumping and throwing themselves about to the boys’ enormous floor-shaking bass and rather magnificent guitar work.
God, it was great fun.
As I left exhilarated afterwards, the main thought in my mind was and remains – if Van McCann and his Catfish lot can make it with their long hair and loud, hooky guitar songs, why not Glass Caves?
It’s exciting times for the four-piece. Perhaps show your support by chucking them a couple of quid next time you’re moseying past All Saints church in town.
Or for your mutual benefit, better still – just buy their album.