Die Shellsuit, Die!

An Alternative Music Magazine

Leeds Academy - 07.11.2008

The Chemists

This is not my Leeds, or at the very least the Leeds I’m used to for live music.

The Leeds I know is small claustrophobic pubs, hidden under railway tracks, or student unions and dance floors masquerading as venues. From this point of view then the Academy is a distinctly different shiny new beast. While the Academy Groups arrival in Leeds is both a blessing and curse depending on which side of the fence you sit, punter or promoter, it provides a bigger sized venue than previously possible in Leeds.

And they certainly aren’t afraid of making sure every inch is filled. Arriving rather eagerly from my point of view an hour after the doors opened we were informed that ‘stalls’ was full and ferried between entrances before eventually finding the way to the balcony. Already a little confused by the whole process and hazy memories of the places previous incarnation, Creation, it’s a shock to discover that inside it’s really nice. That and the fact that the balcony is essentially rows of cinema type seating, providing an excellent view of the stage.

So for the Chemists first appearance on this tour, you might imagine an element of intimidation in front of a very busy and very big space (as Creation it was a mock church, the place still has its high ceilings but it has been enhanced and the beams make it look something that Creation never was. Good.). It doesn’t seem to faze them, whether it is from past experience with the Music or just simply being very aware of their own ability, they take to the stage like a duck to water.

It’s also obvious why they’ve been chosen to do the honours for Feeder, with a big sound and just the right mix of indie, pop and a splash of metal. It would be lazy to compare them to the band that they are opening for but not inaccurate. Helped by fantastic sound, the vocals are clear and the music relentless. When they close with ‘Radio Booth’ it’s a brave statement of intent. Meant as an attack on generic bands, some would leave themselves open for ridicule (for a perfect example see The Rivers and ‘Knock Me Down’) but The Chemists manage to tread the thin line between being for the lack of a better word, ‘landfill’ and genuinely interesting.

It makes them an exciting prospect if they can continue to make songs like ‘To Die For’ or ‘Hear Our Song’ which positively buzzes. Simply put, The Chemists will be making some more fans by the time the tours done with.

Whilst this review is really meant for The Chemists, I’m sure they won’t mind some words on Feeder. With sixteen years down, the band doesn’t seem like calling it quits any time soon but it also means you have a near endless supply of material. For a personal complaint, I last saw Feeder four years ago, and with the exception of some fantastic light displays and LED screen they and the set haven’t changed. Sure there are the tracks from ‘Silent Cry’ but it does little to change my view that bar the sparkle, I’m watching more or less the same show that I saw years ago.

‘High’ gets rolled out again (dedicated to a five year old for his first gig, I’m sure the meaning is lost on him) and it’s still the older tracks which finally gets the place to erupt. By the time ‘Just A Day’ plays out and everyone goes home happy, I still can’t help feeling a little short changed by the band. My own feelings aside, it’s a solid gig, enhanced by a band supporting who seem ready for any challenge that is thrown at them.

Listen: Feeder: www.feederweb.com, The Chemists: www.myspace.com/thechemistsuk