Weekend Recovery have certainly been putting the road miles down in recent months, and like most bands on the circuit, they have day-jobs and bills to pay, so packing in a weekend of single-launch shows with London on Friday followed by a home-town show tonight (Saturday) takes real work and commitment.
The inclusion of Avenoir on the bill had done little to inspire enthusiasm ahead of the event: having seen them play alongside Weekend Recovery twice in recent months and been spectacularly underwhelmed on both occasions. Or maybe I’m thinking of another band, because the four-piece on stage are far from shit, and don’t have an awful bass-playing singer.
The fact is, they’re pretty much only the same band in name: it turns out said bass-playing singer has departed, replaced by the new front man Tye Jozefowicz who provides a charismatic focal point, getting the crowd warmed up and even initiating some audience participation. New bassist Lily Kilcoyne is also a real asset: leaning back into the notes to deliver maximum drive, she’s got a cool stance and lays down a slid groove to boot.
If the set’s energy is quite front-loaded, transitioning towards groove and harmony as it progresses, and managing some anthemic moments, it’s still an engaging performance.
Deadset Dream’s five-string bass sound brings some chunk and density to underpin the choppy, trebly guitar work. And again they’ve got a lot of energy and work hard. But how many calls of ‘Leeds!!!’ do we need from a band? Especially a band who hail from the city, and are playing a 100-capacity venue? I’m perhaps being a little harsh: I’m all for bands delivering big-venue performances in intimate venues, but it’s not unreasonable to hope for more than being remined where I am after every other song.
That said, geography can make a massive difference to those on stage: on a number of occasions, I’ve seen bands perform the same set, just as well, in different cities just a day or two apart, and it’s remarkable to observe the difference in reception between cities. The Sisters of Mercy playing to a rabid reception in Glasgow in 2000 contrasts with the muted, too-cool-for-school nonchalance of Nottingham 3 nights later, for example, and having been rapturously received in London the night before, the rather tepid atmosphere in Leeds – in a venue that’s nicely laid out and with really good sound – is a challenge for Weekend Recovery. But, professionals that they are, they rise up and above it, and don’t let it affect their performance: in fact, they play with more zeal and vigour than their show in York at the end of February.
The set isn’t discernibly different, but it’s tight and meaty and loud, and back to blonde and rocking a silvery crushed-velvet culotte/vest one-piece, Lori seems to have developed a new vocal technique whereby she unleashes a full-throated howl that’s somewhere between a scream and a roar, and it’s fiery, fierce, and terrifyingly powerful. Recent EP cut ‘On My Knees’ is particularly strong on this outing, and the single they’re launching, ‘Bite Your Tongue’ is played hard and fast, and it’s a rush, wrapping up a strong performance.