LIVE REVIEW: Artio supported by Allora and DeadWax – Hyde Park Book Club, Leeds – 12th July 2019


Hyde Park Book Club was buzzing, Artio – a band I have developed something of a huge liking for – are launching their EP ‘Sedative’. I was looking forward to seeing them. Monomyth – Artio’s label – put together a great line-up for the gig so first there are two support acts.

I’ve seen DeadWax before and being honest I haven’t been that grabbed. They play all kinds of rock fused with that rap thing. This time I started to change my mind. Perhaps it was the atmosphere, perhaps it was just that I was just more open to what they do. Whatever it it was the first thing they played that grabbed my attention was a blues-rock based thing with a kind of talking vocal.

What I started to get was that this is a band who have great guitar and vocals. That’s a great starting point and I was really impressed by both. There were other songs that I really got into but sometimes, and this might sound damning, what they do sounds a bit like a grab-bag of things I’ve heard before back in the 80s. I will admit that sometimes I can be a bit jaded musically, so maybe that’s why I wasn’t into it as much as the crowd who were really into it.

Look I think what I’m saying here is that I still haven’t quite fallen for what Dead Wax do – one more time seeing them and it’s likely I’ll be a convert – but catch a track on your chosen streaming service and make up your own mind.

I love what Allora do, in fact I love what they do so much my notes on the night got somewhat overblown. Here goes

‘Oh Allora, Oh Allora, you beautiful thing. I love those vocals, the way they swap, they intertwine, they harmonise.

‘I love those oh so solid yet subtle guitars. That slightly garage loose psychy alternative rock that has elements of soul and Laurel Canyon singer/songwriter in there. I adore the way their music mesmerises and swirls.

‘It’s a joy, it leaves you open mouthed in amazement.’

This sounds suspiciously like I was ‘under the influence’ but I assure you I wasn’t, that’s what Allora do to me. It is the second time I’ve seen them and I was hoping, in vain, that this would stop me just standing there entranced and able to do something ‘properly music reviewer like’. The problem was that in the first seconds of their first song all I could do was watch and listen.

What I could do, at times with great effort, was to try and listen properly, and what I heard impressed me even more. It’s that their songs are so cleverly arranged – they use the three different voices almost as another instrument, they’re not just singing words. It’s those voices that for me are the thing that makes me like what they do so much.

Look Allora are one of those bands that you just have to see, if you haven’t do that, do that as soon as possible.

There’s (probably) a music reviewer set text that says ‘can synth based bands hack it live, are you really going to get anything else live over their recorded output’. There’s (probably) a further set text that says ‘well XXX add in guitar and bass in addition to synth and sequencer to get that live feel’.

Well in this case fuck the set text, Artio were brilliant. The thing that makes them brilliant is the voice and presence of Rae. She pulls herself apart singing those songs. She pushes her voice to the point where it goes towards the end of their set.

The set opens with a personal favourite ‘Blood Brother’ and goes onto include most of their EP and two covers. And much as much of their music is sequenced they sound live and organic.

So good was their set that actually I just couldn’t take notes, all I wanted to do, no was forced to do, was just watch and listen. And this is a properly strange thing, Artio, on the face of it, are just not my sort of thing – I like a noisy rock band usually. In fact why I like what they do so much is a question I ask myself. The furthest beyond ‘I just do’ is that their songs are so well written, they they are put together so carefully, and obviously that I like Holly’s voice. But Artio have something beyond that, something I can’t quite put my finger on.

Artio put as much, or more, into their live set as some of the rather noisier guitar bands I like. The energy radiated off the stage. This was not just some ‘oh so casual’ press the buttons and let the songs come out. They are a band, a hugely impressive live band.

See Artio, see Artio before they get huge so you can say ‘well I saw them before they started playing big venues’. Catch them at the very least for Holly’s voice which is incredible, but you’ll come away taken by the songs as well.

All photos on this page © Frank Roper Photography – see more pictures from the night on his Facebook Page

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Frank is the website guy for Local Sound Focus. Takes a lot of photos and loves writing about new music.