The Secret Handshake – Leeds Cockpit

By paul

The Secret Handshake (with Self Against City and Kill The Arcade)
Leeds Cockpit

Unexpectedly, the band that kicks off the Big Thrive Tour isn’t any of the bands on tonight’s bill, but a local band titled Talk To Angels. The boys overcome a shaky and vocally mediocre start (complete with technical difficulties), and succeed in serving a delightfully Dashboard Confessional-esque helping of piano-infused rock. Each instrument’s aggressively played with thrashing drums, as the vocals shine through gentle/acoustic to gravelly screams with impressive hold. The introduction of secondary vocals from bassist Chris Robbins sound akin to those of Sum 41s� Deryck Whibley, giving them an exciting edge that packs a punch and leaves you genuinely surprised. Worth a second look. *7.5*

Kill The Arcade perform a much more professional, choreographed set, yet seem to fail to wow much of the crowd. Regardless, the energy on stage is intense as the five-some jump around and play with every muscle and shred of energy they own. It’s debatable whether KTA are perhaps a little too punk rock for this tour and could have been significantly better suited at this year�s Slam Dunk festival. It�s pop/punk combined with British punk vocals, resulting in an unusually successful ferocity. They play brilliantly and despite not being an immediate knock-out, they get better the more you listen. A strong live performance and a couple fantastic tunes on their myspace. Time could do great things. *7*

Self Against City, much to numerous fans� dismay, got the short straw in this race as they had to leave their singer in New York City as he didn’t have a passport. The band’s bassist steps in and does much of the singing, or at least seems to, as the other two microphones don’t appear to be particularly successful. The vocals unsurprisingly enough are weak and as their show progresses, the absence of a charismatic frontman becomes increasingly obvious. Otherwise, musically they�re wonderful and as a band they have a hoard of pop/punk hits up their sleeve that unfortunately fail to be received by the audience tonight. Kill The Arcade‘s frontman Lee steps in for the upbeat anthem ‘Ready and Willing’ and scales up the speakers in a final effort to provoke a positive response in the crowd. A band for fans of Something Corporate, The Starting Line and Houston Calls. Check out to see what they really sound like.

Last, but not least is Luis Dubuc, aka The Secret Handshake. With Dubuc’s announcement that he wasn�t allowed to bring his keyboard on the plane, a slight feeling of despair sets in, but he laughs it off and nervously makes somewhat uncouth jokes such as ‘If you don’t dance to this next song, you have AIDS!� in which the crowd fall apart in stitches. The crowd, for perhaps the first time tonight are densely congregated around the stage, fascinated and yes, dancing to the pop/electronica combination, a sound more commonly used by Hellogoodbye. Self Against City‘s drummer Justin Barnes sweats it out for what for him is a double set and it’s a fantastic success. For the grand finale, surely you�d be safe in placing your bets on the fan-favourite and title of The Secret Handshake EP ‘Summer of 98′, but no, it’s none other than Luis’ own version of Alice Deejay’s ‘Better Off Alone’ and it goes down a storm! The evening ends on a massive crescendo, incredible for a show that could have so easily been shambolic. *9*