Phinius Gage – Leeds Packhorse

By paul

The George is a pretty weird venue, officially it fits 90 people in but I’d say it’s probably more like 40 – and at a push at that. Still, full credit to everyone involved for putting a good show on at pretty short notice.

Leeds’ own EIGHTY SIX are up first and the sound is a little dodgy to begin with, hampering their emo rock squawlings. The band also suffere a great deal through the restraints of the ‘stage’ as it’s little more than a 10 foot by 10 foot square complete with sofa. Not being able to move freely kind of limits the fluidity of the band’s performance, and while at times they really hit the spot I feel they’re better when your ears are warmed up, rather than going on first. Still, with their recorded stuff a definite treat I think it’s safe to say the disappointment tonight is a one-off. (6)

The second night of the SNIPER WOLF northern trek sees them hit Leeds running, but they’re another band who are beset with problems. Again the lack of a stage and space is an issue, bassist Rob is usually a free spirit but is forced to gurn his way through the set rather than jump like a coiled spring. The energy is therefore muted, something which the band really rely on. Add to that problems with Nick’s vocals on a couple of the songs and you don’t have the ingredients for a successful set. However, ‘Wrath of You’ is still a great song and the newie, a nod at 50s pop, looks set to be another belter. I’ve seen them do far better so I blame the set up (yes I am a coward) for the performance. (5)

PHINIUS GAGE, however, rock like I’ve never seen them rock before. It’s refreshing to see and hear a band that have something to say and the quartet rattle through their socially-aware brand of skate punk as if their lives depended on it. Since they’ve gone pro Ade has developed into quite the frontman and there’s a confidence I’d not seen before. Choice cuts from their recent Deck Cheese release sound beefed up in a live setting, with ‘Think For Yourself’ and ‘Sick Mick’ two of the highlights. The new songs show an even more mature side, combining their melodic edge to the hard hitting and driving side they do so well. ‘Fires Burning’ is probably still their best song and with a video about to hit our TV screens, the future is looking very bright for the Gage. (8)