Live Review: Tribes

Words & Photography: Tom Walton

The Leadmill, May 7

It was a somewhat mental affair when Tribes visited The Leadmill’s Steel Stage on Bonfire Night last year.

Since then, the London quartet have been touring the country at large after releasing their critically lauded debut album, Baby, in January.

It isn’t only Tribes’ reputation that has grown since November either – their sound has matured into a colossal beast, perfectly designed to channel the angst of a generation into sweat, toil and rock ‘n’ roll.

The band slouch onto the stage to howling feedback and opener Whenever shows finely tuned dynamics at their best as they effortlessly slip from the subdued intro into a crashing chorus that lifts The Leadmill’s roof – unleashing a crowd who have been waiting for the cut-throat squeal of an electric guitar.

Girlfriend furthers the excitement before Sappho ensures pandemonium and sing-alongs, with Johnny Lloyd’s pipes showing impressive range as they conduct the crowd throughout, flicking from a mumbled whisper to a powerful tousled growl with ease.

It’s not all brute force and Tribes show their softer side in A Corner Of An English Field where Lloyd sings: “In the corner of an English field, with the devil trying to cut a deal, I’ve decided I don’t want to go home, don’t you leave me, don’t you leave me alone,” with a bruised demeanour.

It’s far from genius though and while the band don’t lack power or punch, there isn’t much to it and intricacies are rare. However, Halfway Home ‘s finger picking guitars are joined by harmonies that show Tribes have another weapon in their artillery when they aren’t hiding behind feedback.

The bouncers are put through their paces as the audience joins the bands top gear in closer We Were Children. Lloyd sheds his guitar and falls into the sea of outstretched arms from beyond the barrier, helping him chant “oh no stranger your just like me, these things happen we were children in the mid Nineties,” for a proper rock love-in.

The anthemic garage balladry of Coming Of Age ends the evening fittingly, restoring pulse rates to their original state as the band return to the stage after a bizarre chant of “Yorkshire, Yorkshire, Yorkshire” from the rowdy crowd.

“Until next time Sheffield,” says Lloyd, raising his arm in appreciation. If next time is as good as this time, you need to make a date in your diary.

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