Tonight’s visit to the legendary City Varieties in Leeds is a first for me, and long overdue although music is only part of this venues repertoire with most of the upcoming programme being reserved for stand up comedians and theatre. For older readers, the venue hosted The Good Old Days several decades ago, and was a regular in my house growing up as a kid.
So with drinks in hand, and a packet of maltesers (!), we took our very civilised red velvet seats and settled down to half an hour of Eliza Shaddad as the support act. We have to assume the TB boys were actually watching her intense performance as later into the evening, Gale from the band name checked her after admitting that both Adele and Franz Ferdinand had supported them over the years, and much to their regret, they hadn’t bothered watching either.
After the ice cream interval (yes really), the boys took to the stage, Ed most exuberantly as usual, and launched into first two tracks 'Would You Be Mine', and 'Wait' from recent release 'Invisible Storm'. Before the third song from the new album 'Life Forms', the verbose Ed explained that "they were channelling the spirit of Les Dawson" who had trod these very boards years ago, and that very much was a theme for the evening.
This is a mature band, sounding as good if not better than they have ever sounded, and clearly having as great a time as the audience. It became infectious - when the extremely hirsute Ed explained that his current appearance was due to “things that had happened” over the years, and where once he used to dress like a hedge fund manager, he now looked like he sleeps under a hedge....boom boom.
Olly’s first addressing of the audience was to ask "if anyone remembered The Optimist" ? Of course we remember this magnificent debut from the start of the century, and they launched into the beautiful 'Future Boy', followed by 'State of Things', just wonderful.
'Emergency 72' from the same album was also played, before perhaps their most successful single 'Pain Killer (Summer Rain)' from 'Ether Song' which got the biggest cheer of the evening.
The building, crashing crescendo of 'Black Rabbit' from Lost Property closed the main set and after a standing ovation and synchronised bowing to the audience they left stage right. They did warn the audience they were only going to stand behind the curtain for a couple of minutes, before returning to the stage to play a few more songs.
The classic 'Underdog (Save Me)' was my last song of the night, and we left this wonderful venue, into the cold night with a warming glow from witnessing this fantastic band once again.
If there’s a more underrated and consistent band than Turin Brakes, then I’m yet to hear them, and on the one hand, it sucks that they’re not more famous, but so long as they keep selling out venues like City Varieties, they’ll keep releasing albums every couple of years and fans like me will be happy for many more years yet.