Friday, 26 February 2016

Gig Review + Interview | Colour of Spring - Wharf Chambers 19/02/16

Hello everyone!

I'm back with A Romantic Calamity first today! (another one!). I've been so excited about writing this post and am so happy I can finally share it with all of you.

If you read my last post (go give it a read here as it will give this one a little more context) you'll know that Colour Of Spring, an alternative band from Leeds, asked me to review their new single 'Pillow' and invited me to their launch party in our home town last week. I was so excited as the single gripped me from the start and I'm now a huge admirer of them and their music. Its not a genre that I've listened to a lot recently but I feel this could be the beginning of a more indie chapter for me, and one that I'm currently really enjoying! Shane, Robin, Tom and Bryce were not only kind enough to invite me to the gig but they also to let me interview them too. I took one of my best friends, Sophie, with me and we both had such a lovely evening. The band are such a genuine bunch of guys and the gig felt really special. Here's my experience of the evening, I hope you enjoy it!

It began, as most evenings out usually do for me, with an inevitable wardrobe malfunction. It was a lot colder than I thought it would be. It would appear high waisted, ankle grazing jeans, an ironic mid riff, a scarecrow-esque checkered shirt and a coat is not warm enough attire for a Friday evening in February. Luckily the shivering concealed my irrational, nervous jitters as Sophie and I walked towards the whimsically decorated pub, Crowd Of Favours, where we were meeting Colour Of Spring for the interview a few hours before the gig. We get inside and Sophie buys us both a drink to try and calm me down. "I feel like I'm watching you panic before a first date!" she says to me, it was a similar level of nerves believe me! Although as soon as we met the band about an hour later my ridiculous nerves seemed even more ridiculously unnecessary.

I text Robin, (guitar and vocals for the band), to say we were sat by the door of the pub to which he replied that they were running late and that we should meet them at the venue for the nights festivities in about half an hour. Relaxing as I realise I have just enough time to pretend I'm a functioning human being, Sophie and I enjoyed our drinks whilst deciding that the next time we have a night out in Leeds we're definitely starting at Crowd Of Favours, its such a cool pub.

Later on we made our way towards Wharf Chambers, a venue we discover is a hub for any kind of artistic, political or musical individual in the Leeds area. Standing outside the venue I couldn't help thinking that this part of the city centre, which I have failed to explore before now, reminds me incredibly of Ouseburn in Newcastle for both its atmosphere and look. After a short wait outside the club, a white van carrying Colour Of Spring turns up, out of which Robin and rest of the boys emerge remarking "Late for a gig in our own town how embarrassing!". I believe a new bass guitar had to be located, all will explained...

We enter the club house into a delightfully quirky bar area where the interview will now take place. The band spend five minutes arranging their things before Shane (vocals and guitar), Robin and Tom (bass) sit down at a table with us for what was a wonderfully funny and natural interview. My initial nervousness disappearing almost instantly as we laughed through the next fifteen minutes whilst they told me all about their music and tour. Here's a more concise edition of what happened when they foolishly let me interrogate them:


Holly: You’re launching 'Pillow' tonight with a party in your home town, this is going to be a really obvious question and I probably know the answer already, but I’m presuming you’re excited?

All: Oh yeah! *laughter*
Robin: Kind of nervous as well 
Shane: Yeah I mean we’re playing to a load of our friends and friend’s bands
Robin: Its a lot of expectation in a way but its good, its good nervousness 
Shane: Yeah and pretty tired considering this is the penultimate show
Tom: I feel like we’re too tired to be excited! *laughter*

Holly: You’re coming to the end of your tour now, is this going to mark a new chapter for the band? Whats next after you’ve finished the tour?

Shane: Yeah definitely! Its kind of, for me, its sort of the end of the first chapter. We’re moving on to a much bigger one, coming up to releasing bigger things. We’ve only done singles up until now, we’re looking to releasing much bigger stuff and touring more frequently.
Robin: Definitely, I think when you first start out as a band you end up getting lots of little support slots, supporting bigger bands then you get to the stage where you tour and then from that point on you concentrate on doing tours rather than lots shows here and there and everywhere.
Shane: We’ve been saying for bands in their first year it can actually be quite easy getting shows around where you live because its new and exciting, and people want to book you, your friends want to book you. Its after you’ve done your first tour and one of your big releases, its sort of like do you have the longevity? are people still interested? and we’ve been doing quite well! (laughter)
Robin: Yeah its been good, and the other things is when you drive to the other end of the country, you’re like how is anybody even going to turn up for this? how has the news got that far? It seems obvious because of the internet but you know you still have that thing; am I going to go seven hours down the motorway to Canterbury and play to two people? 
Shane: That didn’t happen! *laughter*
Robin: Yeah that didn’t happen! *laughter*

Holly: You’ve only got two gigs left on the tour, which has been your favourite city so far?

Tom: I really liked Brighton, we played to the least amount of people in Brighton, but I just like Brighton, so that was my favourite. *To Shane* You loved Canterbury didn’t you?
Shane: I loved Canterbury, I’m from York and it was like being in York again. The scene was really cool, the promoter was awesome, a really hard working girl and people are into it. In London people just seemed like they were too afraid to show they were interested in anything and in Canterbury it was completely the opposite! They were loving it and it was a great turnout, great place to play; we played a burrito bar upstairs and we all got free burritos! *To Robin* Would you say Canterbury?
Robin: Yeah, I would have said Brighton if we hadn’t turned up at the last minute and played. I love Brighton as a city but I think Canterbury was cool because it was probably the coolest show because everyone was so enthusiastic.
Tom: Also York was really good as well
Robin: Oh yeah York!
Shane: York was a great show, we put it all on ourselves, sort of in the basement of a pub and obviously brought all our own PA and because I’m from York all the bands we played with were my friends so it was nice
Holly: A nice homecoming then?
Shane: That was nerve-wracking for me, playing in front of people I’ve known for a long time.
Tom: I think I was more excited for that because I really liked watching the support bands, obviously these [Waterfall and TRASH] will be good as well.
Robin: It was almost like we’d down the launch in two legs; we did York and because the labels from York as well and this is sort of like the second leg of that.

Holly: I’m studying in Newcastle, so naturally I have to ask, what was the show like there? What did you think of the city?

All: Yeah it was really good!
Shane: It was good fun! Charlie, the promoter, he’s a really cool guy, really hard working as well, he put us up in his place which was nice of him and we went for a few drinks afterwards. The show was good; good turnout, support bands were cool. It was another one of those shows where people were actually you know showing that they were interested rather than just standing looking like they were zombies.
Holly: Yeah I find Geordies are like that, they’re just very upfront about everything but its great!
Shane: It was amazing, I saw a bunch of girls going into a Greggs for a pre-night out pasty and they were all like proper dressed up just in Greggs!
Holly: You do it at the end of the night as well, they’re open until like 6am!
Shane: A pre and a post?
Holly: Yeah exactly! A pre and a post!
Shane: I’m into that, I love Greggs!

- Newcastle, you’ve done me proud.

Holly: What would you say has been the defining memory of this tour? Has there been one thing that you’ve thought 'that’s what I’m going to remember from it'?

Shane: *laugh* Until last night, I wasn’t so sure but probably Robin smashing Tom’s bass!
Tom: Oh yeah I forgot about that!
Shane: *through gasps of disbelief* Because it was not something I was expecting, none of us were expecting it! But people watching could have seen how shocked the rest of us were! Because I turned around to get some feedback off my amp
Tom: I just dropped my bass, to make a noise and I just thought I’d look at my phone
Shane: And then we just heard a bang! and it was just Robin just smashing the bass on the side *laughter*
Tom: Glass was flying everywhere!
Shane: It was pretty interesting like! *laughter*
Tom: A talking point at least! 
*all take a moments reflection*
Shane: I told a funny tractor joke, its too long for this interview though, its a very long joke! But when Tom’s bass string snapped last night, it was in the middle of a song and so we sort of got the point in the song where there’s a break and we switched basses out, but while we were switching basses I was telling this joke and just as I said the punch line we went back into the song!
Robin: I was going to say our merch guy sleepwalks when he’s drunk, and we were in the van and he got up and thought he could get out of the van on the motorway to go to the toilet so we had to like grapple him down back into the seat! 
Shane: He also spilt about two litres of cherryade on me.
Robin: Oh yeah we just sent over this speed bump and he just squirted cherryade all over Shane, so for like the next four hours while we were travelling Shane had to sit in a sticky jumper and with a sticky face

Shane: I tried to dry myself off with a hand-dryer in McDonalds!

Holly: This is quite a personal question, because its what interests me most about music, but whats the writing process like for lyrics with you guys? How does it start?

Shane: Well usually I’ll come up with like the song, is what I call it, like the chords and the lyrics, I’ll write them and do it on an acoustic guitar at home. I’ve explained before in interviews, its sort of like a symbiotic process where I’ll play the chords and the way the chords resonate, the voicings will make me think of pictures and images and I’ll translate that into the words, and they sort of write each other. Certain chord progressions have certain moods which evoke me to sing certain things, and I’ll just play them over and over again and sing anything really. I mean a lot of the times its nonsense and my subconscious turns it into something and thats how it comes about a lot of the time. I’ll then bring those chords and ideas to the band and we bring them to life; everyone has a hand in arrangements and everyone just pitches in from that point from the bare bones.
Robin: Yeah I’d say from the initial idea that Shane has we do a lot of jamming, cause I write a lot of the lead parts, I might say to Shane ‘can you just literally play that chord and riff for the next ten minutes’ then I’ll just like jam it out as I’m just trying to work it out and Tom does the same and then Bryce has usually got quite good ideas of where we can put middle eighths and stuff.
Shane: Yeah Bryce is really good at arrangements 
Tom: All the structural stuff, he knows a track should flow 
Shane: Yeah I’m really bad at writing choruses and stuff, like if you listen to a lot of our songs, I think only two or three have choruses
Tom: You’ve started writing more choruses nowadays
Shane: I’m just selling out, I’m becoming pop!

Holly: Have you been writing a lot of new stuff recently then?

Shane: Yeah we had a bit of a song writing dip where I wasn’t writing anything and so we were just focusing on the songs that we’ve got, making them as good as they can be. But in the past couple of months I’ve been writing loads so we’ve got loads of new songs, some of which we’ve put into the set for the tour, and some of which we’re just writing now. We’ve still got loads of new stuff to come out, I was a bit worried in that dip cause I was thinking ‘maybe its gone’ but I guess it just comes in waves, its not something you can sort of try and do, it just comes as and when.

Holly: What’s the dream for the band? Where do you want it to go in an ideal world?

Shane: Moving on in the same direction that we are I suppose, I’m not in it for playing the O2 Arena or anything I’m not fussed, I just want people to like our music. The main idea for the band is to write music that we’d want to listen to and thats what I’m happy doing. I’d like to just carry on making records and touring and promoting and selling them, if we get to keep doing that and people turn up to the shows then I’m smiling.
Tom: Slowly get a bigger van, hotel rooms eventually! No floors!

Shane: The goal is for when we’re touring to sleep in a bed every night.

Bryce (drums) then joined us for a few quick photos, many of which are a little too grainy for my OCD photographer's snobbery to cope with because there wasn't a lot of light in the room, but here are the ones I felt summed up the atmosphere best.

(Shane, Tom, Robin, Bryce)

Tom and Robin trying to look "natural" for me, thanks guys! *laughter-fuelled eye roll*

The boys then disappeared to set up for the gig and Sophie and I walked back along Boar Lane to 1871 for some dinner. We got a little carried away with how good the menu looked and ordered four sharing platters to share; chicken wings, dirty skins, gourmet fries with cheese and pork and heaped nachos. It's safe to say we didn't finish any of them as our eyes were naturally bigger than our bellies but oh my god did it taste good! I'd definitely recommend the food in there, 1871 is the restaurant attached to the Leeds Marriott but of course you don't have to be staying there to go in for a drink or some food.

After a few hours of food, cider and gossip, we returned to Wharf Chambers where the bar was now full. Sophie and I made our way through a door at the back of the room and turned into a cosy little gig space filled with far more stylishly dressed people than ourselves and Robin sat at a table, welcoming people to the gig and collecting ticket money. Ten minutes later, the first support act, Waterfall, stepped up onto the stage and began their set.


Waterfall are a young band, also from Leeds, but despite their age got the show off to a great start. Their music had a hazy feeling to it and was a little noisy at times, although this excess of noise gave a real feeling of release as they smashed the notes from their instruments.


The second support band were called TRASH, signed on local, Leeds label Clue Records, who I instantly enjoyed. Again a young band but very talented; they were fun, upbeat and quintessentially indie. My favourite song of theirs was 'Workout' which is their new single to be released soon. They had a very modest but endearing impression on the audience and put a smile on everyone's face.


And then the headliners; Colour Of Spring, who killed it! The combination of their dusky shoe-gaze, Shane's creamy vocals and the cosy venue made for a truly intimate show. I don't know if its because they were in their home town and surrounded by friends, or whether this is something that was present at every gig on their tour, but everyone in both the band and the audience seemed to feel so at ease and reassuringly content during their set. The atmosphere was so transporting that even though I was taking photographs to be used on here and for my university work, the bubbling stress of my degree seemed to disappear from my mind completely. It baffled me how the band were still so humbled by the support they'd had across the tour,  even though they put on an incredible show. It was wonderful to see them play in such a fitting venue and I couldn't agree more with Shane from the interview, I don't think I'd want to see them play the O2 Arena but I'd pay to see them at Wharf Chambers again in a heartbeat.

After their set, Sophie and I went to find each of the Colour Of Spring boys to congratulate them, all whom looked so happy and as if all their lives' dreams had been fulfilled. I am so grateful they invited me to what was such a genuinely, lovely evening. I'm sure they played a brilliant show in Manchester on Saturday night and I hope their tour has inspired them to get back to writing so they can get back out and tour as soon as possible. I wish them all the best possible luck with their next chapter and for Trash and Waterfall.

So there you go everyone, my first ever gig review! I hope you enjoyed this post and I've been contacted by a few other musicians recently as well so watch this space as you'll be seeing a few more of these kind of posts in the future!

As always I hope you have a wonderful weekend and I'll see you soon!


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