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Dark Arts: A review

Madeleine Player reviews...

Saturday saw the February edition of Super Friendz’s biannual exhibition of the hottest post-punk bands the scene has to offer, all for a mere £15. With acts on every hour from afternoon until evening, Dark Arts once again provided a stage for some of the country’s most promising offerings, whilst giving ample opportunity to discover new favourites.

With the tough job of kicking things into motion at the sober hour of 1pm, newly formed Mother Said had no issues with luring in an eager audience. The punky quintet have already made a big impression on the Leeds music scene, gaining a strong following since they formed last year. They performed their newly released debut single Tallulah, a love letter to fellow rebels who ‘don’t wanna walk the dog’, armed with a punchy guitar riff as the zealous frontwomen duo march across the stage. They also performed Men in Business, poking fun at…men in business. Their songs are characterised by their chanted lyrics, often with a simple, but refreshingly relatable message. This proves successful with new audiences, who tend to be keen to chant along too. The band concluded their set with climactic Catholic Guilt, it’s tone more dark and foreboding compared to the previous songs. Their unique blend of absurdity, theatrics and punk makes them a compelling watch and a memorable take on Gen-Z punk.

On the other side of the spectrum, we had Acid Klaus, the electronic brain-child of Adrian Flanagan. The outfit endowed their audience with a feel-good set inspiring a sea of boogieing, whereas Egyptian Blue brought us back to more traditional guitar band territory, electrifying the room with frenetic riffs and urgent percussion.

If there was a band to show us how crowd engagement’s done, it was DEADLETTER. The penultimate act put on a headline-worthy performance, the crowd hanging on their every word (and note). They ran through some of the tracks from their most recent EP Heat!, including the apprehensive Zeitgeist and assertive Binge, demonstrating the tonal breadth of their material. They also flexed infectious tracks Pop Culture Connoisseur and Fit For Work, with the crowd singing the lyrics right back at them.

The Lounge Society had the difficult task of reigniting the crowd with the same sort of energy; they faltered at the start, taking just a bit too long to get into the first song. However, they soon got things underway with the anthemic Cain’s Heresy, much to the delight of the audience. The three string-wielders swapped bass duty around whilst they each took their turn on guitar throughout the set, which is sure to be a warmup gig; they jet off to Austin for their coveted place at South by Southwest in a couple of weeks. Finishing with Generation Game, the lyrics ‘What will the US do’ take on a new meaning as I wonder how they’ll be received across the pond.

Dark Arts festival always bring a spotlight to new and emerging talent in the post-punk sphere, and this event was no exception. Watch out for the next event in Autumn.


Words: Madeleine Player

Image credit: Madeleine Player


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1 Comment

Well done Mads.

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