Frazer Music Music presents Two Tone Rust, Whine, Two White Guys & A Mexican, Frazer Theatre Knaresborough. Review by Mike Atkinson
Knaresborough’s Frazer Theatre isn’t often pressed into service as a rock venue, but as last weekend’s two-day showcase of locally sourced live acts demonstrated, it’s a surprisingly well-suited place for bands to strut their stuff.
Originally built as a ballroom, it retains a rich and warm acoustic, and the presence of fixed seating does nothing to dampen its audience’s enthusiasm, with dancing erupting in the aisles on both nights.
Ahead of Saturday’s slightly more mature roster, Friday’s show was firmly aimed at a younger crowd. The opening act, Two White Guys & A Mexican, were the only non-teenagers on the bill, as you could tell by their full-grown beards – and in one case, more tattoos than most mothers would have permitted.
Formed from the ashes of a previous band, this was only the second gig by the new three-piece line-up, who performed their set seated, rather in the manner of a hard rock band taking an extended acoustic interlude.
Their 40-minute set blended covers - Pumped Up Kicks, Wicked Game and that rarest of beasts, a Slipknot power ballad – with original material such as Silver Melts, which highlighted the singer’s Cobain-esque rasp, and their newest song, the doleful Lifestyle Superman.
Entering in a haze of smoke and a blaze of retina-searing strobes, Whine brought their brand of spirited surf-punk from Leeds to Knaresborough.
Fronted by Olivia Erodotou, a captivating singer whose calm demeanour contrasts effectively with the band’s all-out attack, they gelled convincingly on stage, displaying a sound grasp of dynamics.
Their taste in covers impressed, too – particularly when their take on The Cure’s Just Like Heaven changed gears mid-song, into Dinosaur Jr’s altogether thrashier version. Wolf Alice’s Fluffy was another well-chosen cover, while Nirvana’s Breed drew eager nods of recognition from the Knaresborough contingent.
For hometown headliners Two Tone Rust, this must have been a comparatively intimate gig. After all, they’re more used to playing Harrogate’s Royal Hall these days, where they recently triumphed at the annual AMP Awards.
They’ve since gained a drummer, whose presence significantly fleshes out their sound. Milking his time on stage for all it was worth, lead singer Jack “Nory” Henderson was cockiness incarnate: a free spirit, natural showman, a lord of misrule. (“I wanna see you mosh! It needs to happen!”).
His rock star moves were balanced out by the altogether more earnest Anish Petit, who added superb, razor-sharp raps to the rock-based material.
No respecters of tradition, the band’s cover of Jimi Hendrix’s All Along The Watchtower was deliciously sacrilegious (“it’s a classic, but we’ve turned it on its head!”), with Anish’s mid-song rap reaching breakneck speed.
A couple of numbers later, the five-piece became a septet, as two of their classmates clambered onto the stage for an extended bout of Bez-dancing.
And there they remained, despite being ordered to sit on the stage for Ghost Of A Shadow, a more restrained piece that was about as reflective as the band were ever going to get. Its vocal line was handled by rhythm guitarist Ben Fitzpatrick, manfully wielding an extravagantly sculpted “axe” that wouldn’t have disgraced a member of Kiss.
Finishing with their newest and best song, the wonderfully titled Unorthodox Capacitor, Two Tone Rust ended on the highest of highs, cheered to the rafters and justifying all the buzz that has been surrounding them.
They’ll iron out some of those rougher edges over time – and perhaps finding a bass player should be their next priority – but for now, their joyous squall is a pleasure to behold.