Sunday, 6 June 2010

Villagers: Ready for Towns.

The Villagers
27/5/2010 Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

If ever an opening record as suited its venue, it was the Villagers ‘Meaning of the Ritual’ at Leeds Brudenell Social Club on a pleasant summers eve in May. The room is dim lit with candles whilst pints of bitter and a faint smell of spirits enter the nostrils of those congregated to witness Conor O’Brien fronting his new outfit ;Villagers. The Irishman enters the stage to an awkward silence, plays a low chord on the synthesiser before beginning the hour long set with the lyric, “my love is selfish”.

O’Brien describes his word as “love poetry”, becoming evident as Villagers flow swiftly into their next few acoustic masterpieces including ‘Home’ and the title track of the debut album ‘Becoming the Jackal’. The latter of which begins brilliantly, melancholy and calm. “You might recognise this one” introduces the track, with the chorus “I was a dreamer, starring at windows” encompassing O’Brien’s style magnificently. However, as the drums begin to over-power this slow love poem, it becomes evident as to why the Villagers are yet to really escalate to great musical heights as of yet. It can be noted that O’Brien and his men must use their craft of calm and relaxation as a catalyst to send them soaring, leaving behind these pounding drums and unnecessary stage-swaggers.

‘Pieces’ is much the improvement, a song which would suit a long walk in a 1950s black and white world. “For a long long time, I’ve been in pieces” are whispered quiet at first with the tinkle of piano keys as the only background, this then climbs into wolf howls and symbol taps, a highlight of the show.

The latter stages of the show see Villagers perform, ‘The Pact (I’ll be you fever)’, ‘Set the tigers free’ and ‘Ship of Promises’. All of which are performed with the tranquillity and style they deserve. O’Brien needs no Jagger Swagger to impress Brudenell Social Club. The inevitable encore bears witness to a piano dominated ‘On a sunlit stage’, a fine way to end the modest success of Villagers Leeds endeavour. The audience know they have encouraged the seed of something potentially huge, here’s to hoping it grows.

Villagers can be seen:
Glastonbury (Park Stage): 27/6/2010
Supporting Noah and the Whale (Somerset House) 10/7/2010D

Debut album; Becoming the Jackal OUT NOW