The Maple State – Leeds Packhorse

By paul

So I spent two nights gig-watching (it should have been three, bastard work), so I thought I’d combine the two evenings entertainmnet in one wholesome review.

FRIDAY – My first night’s entertainment saw me travel to the East Riding town of Goole. Now I’ve only ever been to Goole once before and that was 9 years ago when I was a delivery driver earning a few coins in preparation of heading to university. Goole, it would appear, hasn’t changed too much since 1997. Still, The Old George is a decent enough pub, albeit on the very small size. Having missed the first band I prepared myself for CHASER, who are rapidly making a name for themselves. Now you know I’m biased because they’re on my label, but these kids are talented. Very talented. For teenagers, they’re probably on a par with any band their age. Fusing commercial rock bands like The Killers with more poppy Panic! At The Disco edges, Chaser blast through their ‘Best Seat In The House’ record with vigour. They’re tight, they can sing and they have tunes in abundance. They may have slightly been let down by the sound, but there’s plenty to suggest the ‘hype’ is warranted. (8)

THE RIVERCLUB headline in Goole and, despite the fact they play last, attract the biggest crowd of the night. While their EP is very polished, live TRC are far more energetic and thrilling. There’s a spiky edge which actually adds an extra dimension to their sound. There’s more aggression and energy, so while their sound isn’t as polished, it’s certainly just as fun. ‘My Girl, God, She Is Beautiful’ is the best way they can start their set and the Goole kids love it. (8)

SATURDAY – A swift train journey from GY to Leeds saw me visit The Royal Park Cellars for the first time for arguably the most solid 5-band bill I’ve seen in a while. RPC is an odd little venue – a big pub with, unremarkably, a cellar as a music venue, complete with stage. LOST ON CAMPUS start things up and Rob’s acoustic strummings get a decent response. With quirky off-beat songs, and a Kelly Clarkson cover thrown in for good measure, the talent is there despite the obvious nerves. If he can tighten his voice a bit, there’s a good chance of progression (6.5).

I missed a bit of KATE WILLIAMS as I was being a social butterfly, but even from the room next door you could tell that the songstress has a really impressive vocal. I didn’t catch enough to be able to give an accurate score, but it says a lot when nearly every band is talking about the same thing after the show…

THE RIVERCLUB carry on from the night before with another energetic performance, although maybe not quite as good. They do have a clutch of strong songs and there’s plenty of singalongs down the front. I don’t need to say too much more to what I said before…(7.5)

Unfortunately for CHASER, their laptop breaks after just a handful of songs and they’re forced to cut their set short. The first two songs are nothing short of great, with ‘Riot’ and ‘Best Seat…’ coming across like Ibiza dance anthems given a swift kick up the arse with a large dollop of rock. But when Nick’s laptop dies, the samples die too and Dan is left on his own to cover an Eldora Parade track before the band meekly leave the stage. (7)

I know I’m biased, but fuck it – there’s nobody better at what they do in the UK right now than THE MAPLE STATE. They get better week by week, the new songs sound strong and the older ones spark huge singalongs. They even get begged for encores (and a rare performance of ‘The Mariner Song’). The sound wasn’t the strongest by any means, but they always, without fail, leave you with a smile on your face. And, bias or not, that’s seriously all you can ask for. (8.5)