For four years now, I’ve been watching Fudge. doing the rounds on Leeds’ gig circuit, headlining sweaty local venues and supporting some of my favourite alt rock bands (Strange Bones, Calva Louise, Kid Kapichi, SNAYX, I’m looking in your direction). They’re never short of opportunities. But this was the first time they’d curated their own festival.
Nothing But Noise was a venture put on with various promoters (namely 360 Club) at pizza-slice-slinging, DJ-spinning Leeds indie institution, Belgrave Music Hall & Canteen. It was a loud-and-proud showcase of some of the top emerging talent from the area that doesn’t come quietly.
The event kicked off late afternoon and saw Infinite Corners and HELLE open. They were followed by the harmonic Allora, who made a seriously strong case for joining a band. Their shredding set was fronted by three singers, who took mic duties in turn. Adorned with a few floaty florals and built out with glorious guitars, Allora’s outstandingly harsh, scuzzy sound has left me eager to catch them again very soon.
My mind continued to be blown as the night went on, don’t get me wrong, but it was the transfixing six-piece, Household Dogs, that probably had me mesmerised first. With token shakers, fluid movements around the stage and eye-wateringly divine solos executed with a steel slide, there was so much to witness and be absorbed in.
Their gig at Nothing But Noise landed between a free show of theirs at The Vinyl Whistle in Headingley and one at The Fulford Arms in York, so they were partway through a busy weekend of promoting their brand-new single. It’s called ‘Dead Cool’ and, after what they displayed at Belgrave, yeah, you can understand why…
Then assuming the stage at that 8pm sweet spot was another six-piece, who burst on all supercharged and overflowing with energy. When a band belts out the 20th Century Studios/21st Century Fox theme tune, it could go either way, but Flat Moon’s chaotic yet refreshing funk had the crowd roaring just moments in.
They’re an outfit who effortlessly banishes the blues. They operate with all members singing in some capacity, throughout all the red-hot guitar licks, running around off-stage with a bass, and then even balancing heads of guitars on palms of hands. You didn’t know where to look next, because everything was fun but also really co-ordinated. Their saxophonist of course brought a je ne sais quoi that further set them apart, too. Get ‘Smile While You Can’ and ‘Enough’ on your playlists immediately.
By this point, if you didn’t know much about Fudge., you could’ve at least understood that they have a solid ear for music. They had brought together a collection of artists so spellbinding in their performances that you could barely tear yourself away to get a drink. Ready to ignite a fire among the faces in the room was Dim Imagery. They’re another Leeds act but now their links to Fudge. go so deep that they’re embarking on a co-headline tour across the UK. This endearingly poetic, somewhat prophetic set of theirs was the first of six slots they’ll be sharing.
Throughout, we were invited to sway, shimmy and throw our heads around. It took me just a few seconds into the sharp, yearning vocals, rumbling bass, on-point guitar and tight drumming to understand the hype. And now I’m sold.
It was obvious why ‘Three Degrees’ has been so well-received, but the just-dropped ‘Fishing In An Empty Stream’ was a pure crowd-pleaser, despite being so new. Those two tunes are all they have available on Spotify for you to hear for yourself right now, but rest assured, the other tracks they served us were behemoths and they suited their live sound so, so nicely.
Regular readers will know I’ve covered Fudge. extensively on the site. Thing is, they don’t just have their own uniquely slick alt rock blend, they’ve got skits down to a tee and they know how to whip up a crowd all too eager to mosh. It’s like there’s a code word that subconsciously sets everyone off. And the floor can just about cope with the bodies that get thrown around on it. There’s no doubt: the city of Leeds is theirs.
They’ve said it before and others will reinforce it, but 2022 is the Year of the Fudge., that’s for sure. The four-piece is an unstoppable freight train of a force, with Cam’s ear-blistering vocals, Angus’ thunderous drumming and Fabio’s flawless bass skills. You’d be forgiven for thinking he had been on the instrument from day one for the band. Then there’s their other core ingredient that never fails to inspire: Otto’s face-melting guitar ability. To say he’s the only one with the riff responsibilities is shocking — in the very best way. How’s it possible for that much depth of sound to be generated by just a lone guitar?
Belgrave’s space became so smoky Snoop Dogg was referenced and, towards the end, there was even amp difficulties with the guitar. But it didn’t stop their sharp, witty performance — it just meant we got two-and-a-half measures of their ‘Bulls On Parade’ cover.
As ‘Walrus’, ‘Y.F.F.G.’, ‘Money to Be Made’ and all the usual suspects blared, the lads’ set proved a stark reminder of why I started reviewing growing artists. Bottom line is, this is what it’s all about.
With thanks to Fudge. for guestlist entry