LIVE REVIEW: Fudge. supported by Ghostwriters, Havanas and Floodhounds – 360 Club, Leeds – 11th October 2019

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Fudge.

Another Friday night and another great line-up from 360 Club. I realise I’ve said that before, and will probably say it again, but they really do have some great line-ups. And it was a special night, Fudge. were launching their latest single – ‘Hugger-Mugger’ (read our review) – so the night came with that special Fudge. thing in the air.

Floodhounds

Opening the night Floodhounds played a blinder of a set. I am, to say the least, rather fond of the band but it’s been a while since the first time I saw them live. The first thing I notice is that the band’s music is way more bluesy and garage-y, that indie element of their music seems to be taking more of a backseat (this may just be me, given it’s over a year since I saw them play but that’s what’s happening to their recorded material as well).

The second is that, and while this isn’t really news to me, but I really noticed it this time, all three of the band individually are really fantastic musicians – Jack’s guitar playing is great, Lauren’s drumming is both powerful and clever, and Joel’s bass swings like hell. The thing is that while individually what they do is hugely impressive, together what they play is way more than the sum of their parts. It’s the sound of a band who really mesh together.

Floodhounds
Floodhounds
Floodhounds
Floodhounds
Floodhounds
Floodhounds

What they don’t do, and that blues element of what they do might allow them to do, is long solos (there’s a part of me that wishes Jack would, he really is a great guitarist) but this makes their songs short and exciting, and way danceable. There’s an energy in their songs which just makes you want to move.

I’m not going to pick favourites. I might say this but I am going to highlight a couple of tracks – ‘Going Home’ and the song they played after that one. These seemed much more alt-rock but still with that bluesy thing going on. This was very much a lovely thing.

Floodhounds play great music with a whole of influences in there, it’s really hard to shove them into a niche. It’s music that is really brilliantly played that if you’re so inclined you could just stand and listen to, or music that you may just want to throw yourself around to. They rock big time, go see them.

Havanas

Next up was the first of two bands that were new to me – Havanas. So what they do is kinda garage-y, punky rock. At the time I thought that the band might describe what they do as alternative rock. They do, I checked on their Facebook Page, although they say ‘combining elements of indie, punk and rock music to create their own alternative sound with raw vocals, hard hitting riffs’ and I can’t disagree with that. It’s all dirty dirty guitar and big big drums. It’s loud, bloody loud, and right in your face.

But as their set went on I started to notice things, things I really started to like – like clever drumming and intricate guitar lines – that really made me take notice. And further into their set the songs get more complex, and have tunes in that lovely lovely wonderful noise.

Havanas
Havanas
Havanas
Havanas
Havanas

It’s hard to do an-depth review on a band you’re seeing and hearing for the first time, you just get an overall impression, but Havanas are a band I want to see again, I was really impressed by their set. I suggest you do too.

Ghostwriters

Ghostwriters were new to me. Right here, right now, I’m going to say that at first I wasn’t all that sure about them but as their set went on I began to find them rather compelling. What they do kinda combines rap, punk, hints of metal and hints of post-punk. In fact my first impressions notes say ‘it is strangely almost Gothy doomy start to their set’.

If Ghostwriters are new to you, and you’re asking ‘so who do they sound like Frank?’ I have not the slightest idea how to answer that question. There’s nobody I can say ‘well they kinda sound like XXX crossed with YYY’, all I can do is refer you to my opening paragraph and say ‘it’s nothing like the unholy mess it might sound like it is, it’s actually rather brilliant’. The thing that links it all together, at least for me, is the lead guitar. This makes all those sonic elements hang together. Oh, that and the fact that’s a lovely noisy thing that Ghostwriters do.

Ghostwriters
Ghostwriters
Ghostwriters
Ghostwriters
Ghostwriters
Ghostwriters

This is a band that I want to see again. Having got past that first seeing of the band, and getting what they do, I want to see them again so that I can focus in on what they do in detail.

Fudge.

And so to Fudge. During the proceeding bands Fudge. fans had started to gather over by the merch stall. There was a lot of hugging and friendly greetings. Having seen Fudge. A couple of times, I saw a lot of people I’d seen before. The band hung out over by that stall and chatted to people. There was an atmosphere of community building as the night went on. But there was also an increasing air of anticipation in the room, a building excitement, an excitement you could feel.

By the time the band started to get their stuff sorted, that anticipation, that buzz was at a peak. Their set started with the band minus Cam – it starts almost unexpectedly – and then Cam made his way to the stage from the back of the room (there had been a conversation between me and some people I know who were at the gig as to where Cam would appear from and how).

And then that lovely chaos of a Fudge. gig started. There is moshing right from the start, the crowd go from nothing to full on instantly. The music the band are playing is at full throttle right from the start, as is usual they hold nothing back. Cam plunges into the crowd, his crowd, a crowd he is part of, and moshs like crazy. He is embraced and embraces various people in the crowd from the stage. People stage dive, with Cam acting as a kind of safety marshal, he seems to spot when it’s safe to dive and tells the person to ‘go now’ with a push.

Fudge.
Fudge.
Fudge.
Fudge.
Fudge.
Fudge.
Fudge.
Fudge.
Fudge.
Fudge.
Fudge.
Fudge.
Fudge.

The new single is greeted by what I can only describe as fucking frenzy – I thought it would be like this when I reviewed it, and I was right.

There is wildness, there are people on other people’s shoulders. But as I’ve said before, it feels safe. I was even able to venture into the crowd right at the front to take pictures knowing that Fudge. fans take care of each other and other people at the gig.

You might be saying ‘But what of the music Frank, you’ve just concentrated on what the gig was like to experience?’ And I have because that’s important, it’s part of going to see Fudge. play. Fudge. live play brilliantly. The chaos of a gig might give them an excuse to be looser but they don’t. Otto’s guitar is great, Angus’s drumming is the thing that makes it all hang together and Josh’s bass provides that foundation. They are tight, way tight. Their songs are wonderfully put together and have great words.. Without that great playing the gigs wouldn’t be as intense, as compelling as they are.

They end with ‘Not A Threat, Just A Warning’ to frenzy in the crowd again, and that is it. They leave us, they leave us sated, having had our fix of Fudge. We can go away happy, having done that thing that a Fudge. gig provokes, people just talk to each other, that sense of community doesn’t end the moment the band’s set ends.

Look, and I’ve said this before, if you haven’t seen Fudge. you need to. The music is fucking fantastic and the experience, that shared experience is addictive.

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