Live review by Gig Scene Editor Graham Chalmers
Sulk + Dark Bells, Monteys Rock cafe, Harrogate.
Tonight feels like we’re somewhere else, Leeds or Manchester or London, such is the spell cast on Monteys by two superb ‘indie’ bands who’ve made the long journey up purely to play Harrogate.
It’s easy to demean headliners Sulk’s melodic strengths and rippling guitar rock with reference to ‘Stone Roses Clones.’
But the differences between the two bands are even clearer live than on their recently-released stunning album Graceless, one of those classic debuts that comes along once in a blue moon.
Sure, lead singer Jon Sutcliffe in his 1965 Brian Jones fringe dyed black may ooze the same positive vibes and soaring spaciness in his vocals as Ian Brown.
And, of course, there is the occasional ‘Madchester’ rhythm from second guitarist Andrew Needle, bassist Jakub Starzynski and drummer Lewis Jones
Bu that, ladies and gentlemen, is where the similarities end.
Soaring pop gems like Wishes and Back in Bloom are built as much on Tomas Kubowicz’s booming, cascading, psychedelic guitar lines, sounding at times like Bernard Butler of Suede put through loud shoegazing pedals.
Truth be told, the majestic Sulk are more like The Horrors with better tunes than the Stone Roses. Any other comparison is lazy journalism.
I’ve got a feeling that rather than being behind the times, Sulk may turn out to be ahead of them as they shun these dark days to blast their way forward to a better future.
Earlier, Dark Bells provided the perfect opener with a hypnotic mix of shoegazing and goth, drenched in atmospshere and tasty basslines.
All in all, a spectacularly good evening in little old Harrogate.