Live Review: Gunning For Tamar, Cleft and Mahogany Hand Glider – Santiago’s, Leeds – 20/03/2013

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Oh Wednesdays. I do love you for your Orange based deals. Pizza Express to begin our evening before we headed to Santiago’s on the edge of the town centre. There’s a super heavy show going on upstairs and a free entry show downstairs for those who enjoy their music to have a certain charm and intelligence about it, so big up Musical Mathematics for putting the show on. I’d only been here for a show once previously, so it was nice to be back in such an intimate venue.

Mahogany Hand Glider were the first act to carve out the night ahead. There’s plenty of skill from ever angle but it’s the drummer who really grabs me. The young gentleman clearly has some jazz training as it’s only jazz drummers who can/will play this gently yet so technically proficient. He has such fluidity with his extruding limbs that the best way to describe him would be, wait for it, like jelly in a flowing river. I bet you won’t hear that simile ever again. Despite the skill I’m not entirely grabbed. Unfortunately with instrumental bands there’s the lack of lyrics/a front man or woman to really grab and take a hold of the crowd and toy with them in the palm of their hands. The lack of the aforementioned and the sometimes tedious nature of math rock really doesn’t help. I get that it’s melodic, but repeating the same melody for a good whole minute can get pretty tedious. (3/5)

Now Cleft really grabbed me. They’re just a two piece of drums and guitar but the music is so much… louder. Obviously volume is going to make you take notice when it’s pummelling your ears into blissful bleeding, but the riffs were bone crushingly heavy and delightfully good. The kind that were also so mind boggling that the inevitability of nodding furiously along led to being in, then out, and then maybe back in time? It’s this kind of math rock of combining different time signatures that really makes me think and it’s that intelligence that I enjoy. The two of them are incredibly in sync a machine oiled regularly. And this machine has an in your face interface. This is what I want. (3.5/5)

However, the show is stolen by Gunning For Tamar. Clearly the most experienced of the night and each song is well structured, performed and delivered to a tee. An incredibly enthusiastic and tightly knit performance with old and new songs. ‘Yogging’ is the opener of the set and opener from their soon to be released EP ‘Camera Lucida’, starting with delicate piano melodies before Tamar come crashing in from every 3 dimensional side, true to their older stuff. And of course old favourite ‘German Treasure Island’ and ‘Time Trophies’ are given a whirl and show that the band consistently write great songs and great song titles. Standalone single ‘Dark Sky Tourism’ ends the night with more explosion than that cliché film moment when the protagonist calmly walks away from the coolest of explosions behind them. This is Gunning For Tamar calmly walking away from their explosive set and heading into their hotly anticipated future. (4/5)

3.5/5

Words by Mikey Brown (@MikeyMiracle)

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