Live Review: ChameleonsVox / March Violets – Brudenell Social Club, Leeds 23.11.2013

Nathan Clark at the Brundenell Social Club always seems to know what and who the people of Leeds want to see and hear and Saturday 23 November was no exception.

Firstly, a disclaimer as, apart from hearing a Marc Riley session about a year again, I don’t really know that much about the ChameleonsVox, other that I loved that session and knew I’d have to see them if they ever came to Leeds and that they were a post-punk band formed on Greater Manchester in 1981.

They came on to a massive cheer from the packed out crowd and the mosh pit started immediately. The crowd was clearly made up of die hard fans that had been there since the beginning and were loving hearing the songs of their youth being so excellently executed right in front of them. Frontman Mark Burgess hardly had to be there as everyone in social club were with him word for word!

The songs were performed so brilliantly and complimented by a great light show. For over an hour this joyous love-in continued and for their last song, Mark got off the stage and into the crowd, where he was hugged and rubbed by the adoring fans, it was a joy to see and love it when the bands remember their fans, although in an intimate lil space like the Brudenell, it creates a closeness that you don’t get at other venues in town.

Somehow Mark is allowed to return to the stage, the bands are all smiling and everyone in the place is smiling too. At the Brudenell, the bands always have a wander around and chat too the fans, there was a brilliant moment that I witnessed where one fan got Mark in a headlock, overcome with emotion, telling him how important the band still is to him. In a beautiful gesture, Mark produced a plectrum for his pocket, continued to sign in and give it the man, who, in turn, almost exploded! You just don’t get this sort of experience in larger venues and is what going to gigs, for me, is all about. The connection with your heros.
It’s not hard to see why the Brudenell is celebrating its centenary all throughout December with some extra special shows.

This co-headlining tour continued with March Violets, again, a band I’d never listened too but my brother in law loves. Which he would because they are a Leeds band, formed in the eighties and are goth rock!!

There was a change in audience as the March Violets hit the stage, the bald heads of the fans of the previous band made way for some elaborate hair dos and goth style clothing. That is not to say that everyone disappeared, it just changed a little.
Wow, visually a striking look with Rosie Garland looking like a dominatrix airline stewardess and Simon Denbigh with his plated beard and top hat. These two shared vocal duties, Rosie’s delivery was striking and perfect, it wouldn’t have seemed out of place if she slipped into The Slits cover of Heard it through the Grapevine. They powered through their set with a thundering bass and heavy synthesised, sometimes dancing drum machine. Again, hats off to the lighting guy as this increased the intensity of the performance and almost blinded the crowd during one song that had about 20 bright orange lights blasting into the crowd.

The only negative about the night was that I forgot my phone so I couldn’t take any pictures of the scene on stage. I guess you’ll just have to catch ’em live and see for yourselves?!

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