Living Body, Shield Patterns, Buen Chico, Mayshe-Mayshe @ Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

Posted by vibrations on 03-08-16

The sun is shining, I have no work tomorrow and the Brudenell is calling with a chance to see the debut performance of Living Body, a collaboration between Tom of Vessels, Sarah of Esper Scout,, Alice of Mayshe Mayshe and Jeff of Juffage. I whisper the word ‘supergroup’ and hope I don’t get sneered at. Let’s call it a collaboration of friends (superfriends).

Alice Rowan is brave enough to start the ball rolling, struggling with sound issues that threaten to make her set sound totally Aphex Twin. Once technical are overcome, its moshi moshi to Mayshe Mayshe, a set comprised of big electro noise, bells, glocks, vocal loops and a hairdryer. There is a warmth to the music but it conceals a spikiness – like a hedgehog in a sleeping bag – and there are elements of Kate Harkin, Kate Nash, Kate Bush… all the Kates, Fran Rogers and Lone Wolf. Introversion, domesticity, boldness… it’s a very interesting prospect to see all this variety from one person.

Buen Chico have been around for a long time, but haven’t broken cover in a while. Maybe the stars are right, because this is one of those bands who are pretty good, but haven’t quite found their spot yet. Tonight, their set varies from a pleasant Tellerman/Belle and Sebastien groove to a more angry Fall like growl. For me they hit their stride in the last few songs, previewing material from their new release, a concept piece about Job. Maybe that’s it – it has that Ben Folds appeal, so… maybe this is the one.

This line up is definitely eclectic. Richard Knox and Claire Brentnall aka Shield Patterns are a more moody prospect and, bathed in red light, a nightmare for photographers. The ambient ethereal synths conceal Claire’s haunting vocal, emerging like a ghost voice at times, smothered at others, in a dark electronic wilderness that harkens to The Knife, though is nowhere near as comforting. Experimental and unsettling, though needing a bit of tweaking sound wise, it is the soundtrack for when things don’t feel quite right…

Living Body is hard to pin down. They are rock (Alice glasses on); they are pop (Alice glasses off); they are cheerful (Sarah’s favourite song); they are not (which is about debt and death); they have no front man (or woman); they have two, and they disagree. Jeff and Alice, de facto leaders, squabble like siblings while Tom and Sarah look on bemused/amused – but did I mention the music? All the crescendos of post rock, the quirk of They Might Be Giants, the touchy feelies, the brash of the manics – it’s a mix tape of a set, a declaration of preference and it’s good – Alice and Jeff’s vocals compliment and contrast, Sarah’s drums throb persistently and happily, Tom plays happy and relaxed – there may be some tough themes in there but it’s just a joy to listen to. Very nice indeed.

Rob Wright