Through a just-navigated sea of dishevelled Otley Runners brandishing cheap kebabs and sauce-slathered chips (neither of which you want on a leather jacket), The Library pub and its fabled live music venue, Lending Room, was calling out to indie-rock fans…
This Feeling’s shows do a stellar job of championing emerging artists, and we witnessed four really strong examples of that as the night went on. Things kicked off with Strays, who announced it was their first-ever gig (though you’d have been forgiven for thinking they were circuit regulars); the bar was set and the room was warm. They were a thoroughly electrifying start to the four-band line-up.
The Sunrise Radio, who were back in action after a pandemic-induced show-free few years, came on second and fuelled the fire that bit more, ahead of The Kairos. They were an outfit that had come all the way from Liverpool to play their Leeds debut, and they expertly got the crowd bouncing to energy levels I hadn’t quite seen since Spangled blew the roof off Broadcast, Glasgow, back in February.
Tom Dempsey’s accented vocals naturally gave little bursts and hints of rising bands such as STONE, and while The Kairos were possibly the most quintessentially of-the-times indie out of the lot, they had a glossy yet really, really sharp, refined sound. They knew their way around guitar solos, effervescent choruses and catchy hooks that got people’s hips shaking. You can completely understand why they’ve got This Feeling’s backing.
As though all that hadn’t been enough, 10:15pm saw the clock strike ‘headliner’ and Bradford’s Drella assumed the stage. Much like Wolforna (who were assisting at their merch stall), they’re another Prospect Studios protégé and they had kindly invited me down to review the show*.
Drella’s carnage-inducing set was an applaudable demonstration of the dirty indie-rock their bio promises. It began with their premier studio single, ‘Hypocrisy’ (which, funnily enough, landed just a day after Spangled’s Glasgow show I cited above). The trio kept the crowd buoyant throughout, which perhaps peaked during their unexpected yet befittingly exciting cover of Dizzee Rascal’s ‘Bonkers’.
The stabbing riff of ‘Heartstring Noose’ translated impeccably through the amps and, yet again, acted as a momentum-keeper as Drella drilled on. Although it isn’t customary for the strict 30-minute performances bands are given with This Feeling, the encore they were allowed to play — to the joy of everyone in the building — was testament to how epic the night had been.
*With thanks to Drella for the press access