Friday nights in Leeds are for 360 Club shows — especially if you like your tunes loud. And pretty sweaty, too.
While the deliriously infectious MEEK kicked off the evening in a light, enjoyable style so true of the Hull-based band’s indie-pop-rock niche, the gig was touted as something of a single release show for Answer Machine. Archie — the lone member of the solo outfit that assumes the moniker — had invited me down to cover the event* and it was an easy yes. But props to 360 Club, because it was a hell of a line-up all round.
Setting up, Archie was composed and methodical, but had a calmness about his demeanour. Boiler-suit-clad and donning sunglasses, he got the drum machine going and it was obvious that he had everything coolly under control. To say he tips his tunes as the sort of thing your grandma would enjoy, there wasn’t a silver hair among the young, fully immersed audience.
If you’ve read any reviews of Answer Machine’s material, you might already know that he doesn’t bring out any session musicians — in fact, his deft handle on the setup would’ve rendered anyone else unwarranted. The expansive crowd that had turned out were engaged, and it was all to Archie’s credit.
Throughout, strong, Joy Division-esque vocals commanded everyone’s attention, while the Telecaster did most of the background talking. There were keyboards, megaphones and a trademark answer machine sample in the mix, too, which all culminated in a generally spacey, uber-80s electronic tone.
‘Disco Dancer’ had come out just that morning, which Archie jokingly claimed he’d nonchalantly forgotten, then of course confessed to not having had a wink of sleep in actuality. His ease with conversing with the faces in the room was just as much of a joy to see as well, and his final act of downing a pint valiantly on stage before packing up was the cherry on top.
The third act on the billing, EYEBRIGHT, were actually playing their first ever gig. The four-piece had a tranquillity to them, though; you’d have been forgiven for thinking they’d been doing the rounds for time. They’d got together during lockdown, practised hard and suitably wowed everyone. You could tell — there was this energy in the room as their female-fronted post-punk and indie fusion pierced and captivated. It’s not a reach to say they gave Paramore a run for their money.
They made a strong plug for their upcoming single (due 12th August) as well, and dazzled through performance-enhancing plays, such as when their bassist and guitarist swapped duties for a track. And as the end drew in and what seemed like the fastest 30 minutes passed, the crowd roared for another song but it wasn’t sanctioned. If that’s not testament to how they hooked everyone immediately, I don’t know what is.
Despite the calibre and class dripping from each of the artists who’d gone before, I somehow don’t think my ears were quite prepped for the intensely thunderous storm of noise that The Great Potoo, the gig’s headliners, delivered. They gifted the yearning crowd with hit after hit. ‘Rodeo’ and ‘Like Me’ rose as firm favourites for me.
I can’t stress enough how my eyes were on stalks as their two guitarists (one of whom also competently seized the vocal lead, too) absolutely obliterated with unreal skill. Their fingers couldn’t have moved faster up and down the fretboards, and their overall sound isn’t done justice by the demos you can spin on Spotify.
The Great Potoo were gifted and then some, and a shining example of why all four artists who performed have more than earned their stripes.
This is a gentle nudge to get tickets for MEEK, Answer Machine, EYEBRIGHT and The Great Potoo at your next convenience. You’ll only regret it otherwise… and we wouldn’t want that.
*With thanks to Archie Banks and Richard at 360 Club for the press invite