Gig review: Band of Skulls at Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

Band of Skulls at Brudenell Social Club. Picture: David Hodgson
Band of Skulls at Brudenell Social Club. Picture: David Hodgson
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Tenth birthday parties are, if the memory serves, frequently a lot of fun. Laughing, joking, jumping around, fizzy drinks, all attended by your lifelong buddies. The tenth anniversary celebrations for Band of Skulls debut album Baby Darling Doll Face Honey at the best party venue in Leeds was no different.

In truth the album remains the pinnacle of the band’s five album output, each subsequent release seeking greater commercial acceptance, at times to the detriment of their garage blues rock sound. Emerging to Diamonds Are Forever, the party warm-up acts were Love Is All You Love and You’re Not Pretty But You Got It Going On, before the star of the show was unleashed.

Acknowledging the affection held for BDDFH, singer and lead guitarist Russell Marsden introduced the album run-through as ‘a load of songs usually at the end of the set at the beginning’. Light of the Morning and the majestic Death by Diamonds and Pearls would adorn any album or set opening, bringing the Brudenell to life.

The band may be from Southampton but drummer Julian Dorio adds ‘a little Nashville’ to the proceedings, as does the Tennessee-style radio mic that Marsden and bassist Emma Richardson bring out for the acoustic interlude, Hometowns, which apparently narrowly missed the original album cut, and Honest, sung beautifully by Richardson.

As frustrating as it is that a band producing tracks of such quality aren’t selling out larger venues, Band of Skulls act like it would be a second home if they were, teetering on the stage edge, guitars being swung, laughing, crowd high fived. Dedicating Bomb to Leeds band and former stage allies Buen Chico, the set then moved into ‘the afterparty’.

Sweet Sour and Himalayan created the beginnings of a mosh pit, The Devil Takes Care of His Own and encore Asleep at the Wheel fired adrenalin into it. When Band of Skulls are on top of their game, they become untouchable.

Then the party proper commenced. Unravelling microphones from stands, the backing tapes taking over the guitars for recent single Carnivorous, the lead duo went one edge of stage teeter further and performed the entire song from the mosh pit, security clearing excitable audience members from the stage. The party has got all a bit raucous, like all the best ones do.

Band of Skulls promised a new album this evening. If they can capture the energy, hooks and fervour of their debut then they’d best bulk order cake and candles, as there will be a lot more parties like Leeds were indebted to be invited to.