MacLeod. He Came. He Saw. He Conquered

Acts Provide Perfect Night Of Entertainment For Captivated Audience

Lee Barber || September 17th


Kez Liddle took to the stage after just 24 hours notice, and very almost ended up stealing the show. Her soft quirky vocals glistened across the room and the whole crowd stood in complete awe and silence theoughout every song, and erupted into applause after each one too.

I can honestly say I have never seen a local artist captivate and audience in such a way, and the people in the room could only agree as they stood asking who the  incredible yet unknown artist could be. Singing songs of sombre but presented in a gentle and almost light hearted manner, Kez most certainly made a lot of new fans this evening.

Certainly one new fan is Christian Popple, front man of Kistune, who enjoyed the opening acts set so much that he almost didn't want to follow her. But there was nothing for the Kistune man, as their game was strong. STRONG. I've seen Kitsune on many occasions, and on even more occasions as their previous guise, Vulpes Vulpes. Rasping through well arranged songs like Suicide Saturday and Little Lilac, I could sense a vibe about the three piece. Their sound was bigger, their game stronger, their lights brighter. Their stage presence more confident. I wouldn't be able to put my finger on what has changed for Kitsune, so I'll keep my fingers typing away this review, but I will say that Kitsune have most definitely upped their game. Slipping BBC 6 Music credited Honeybee certainly did their set no harm, whilst ending on the uplifting Sera Shot was a stroke of pure genius. Coming soon to a dancefloor near you.

When John MacLeod took to the stage, his guitarist Jack Tasker hadn't been part of the band's soundcheck. But it didn't matter. These are professional and experienced musicians. Who needs soundchecks anyway?

Opening with immediate, in your face noise, Attack Of The Vapours announced themselves with a raucous of sound. John macLeod has been known for his banter in between songs, but tonight he brought with him his serious face, and ploughed straight into a second heavy track, building the momentum even more. Is this the pleasant John MacLeod we know and love? Or is this the all new and improved model, the John MacLeod.AOTV? This guy means business, stood at the merch stand with his brand new EP's throughout the whole night, welcoming pretty much every person into the basement of The Exchange, before jumping on stage and thrashing his guitar with pure venom.

Swapping his guitar for a second time, John announces the next track as Brain Shocks. Rasping through jiggly verse, the band flow well, considering they've practised just three times together due to work commitments, with one member only actually being able to learn the tracks via technology. John had previously said that the Attack Of The Vapours project was more about recording, but going off how well the band work after so little practise, it's not hard to imagine there will be more live performances coming soon.

Three songs in and we finally get a glimmer of the John MacLeod we know and cherish, sneaking in a joke as he heads into Don't Tell The Folks back home, one of the oldest tracks still running the Stoke circuit possibly, and it has transformsd along the years and somehow fits in perfectly with the new sound that John has moulded. The lack of practise between the band members somehow only adds to the raw edginess of the set, and a hat must be tipped in honour of Jack Tasker who, having countless music projects on the go already, has stepped up and helped John to hone the sound he has long searched for, and has then proceeded to help bringing that to the stage for the launch night of the EP Here Comes The Brim.

After some slight technical difficulties, John announces the next song as Ether Halo, a track written and recorded under his previous outfit The John MacLeod Band, former members of which being in the crowd, who fondly filmed the performance with smiles on their faces.

Flying into a three song encore, Attack Of The Vapours keep the crowd on their toes with their second cover in this hour long set. Don't Tell Anyone by Queens Of The Stone Age is strikingly close to its original version, and is sure sign behind some of John's inspiration for Here Comes The Brim as he ducks and jives with his guitar like Sir Stanley Matthews constantly selling you his infamous drop of the shoulder. Closing with possibly the best song MacLeod has ever written, which we'll here shorten to Job Satisfaction, the project finally reaches its climax which sees John and his trusty companions blaze through the song with fire in their bellies. Ending with a choir finale that the EP version has, John proceeded to bring the tentative audience in the action, as they swooped and swanned the choir with John while the music faded. Audience participation at its finest, the crowd at The Exchange last night was certainly one that deserves a splendid pat on the back for sheer appreciation of local music.

Here Comes The Brim. The debut EP from Attack Of The Vapours. Out now.