The word ‘browse’ refers to the way in which many people engage with magazines nowadays. There are still many who browse the shelves for the weekly or monthly edition of their mag. It’s also the perfect verb to describe the way in which we search for our music. Whether browsing along shelves of CDs or flicking through baskets of vinyl, you’re waiting for something to catch your eye and draw you in.
Last night, Browse Magazine – an independent digital magazine created on a weekly basis by a ragtag collection of local people eager to promote the wonderful artists of Hull – drew people in to their first event.
Hosted at Piper on Newland Avenue, we had quite a large space to fill. A daunting thought for a first-time session. But we’d promoted and shared via social media and that age-old format known as word of mouth, and we were delighted to see the crowd undulating throughout the night, moving towards the stage in waves as the two bands performed.
Felony performed first, playing songs from their album ‘Come Back Home’ to the growing audience who scattered themselves around the venue. Loyal followers and Browse photographers at the front, they were rewarded with cheering, clapping and … well, some photographs. Their music is fast-paced with guitar-lead instrumentals. If you’ve heard them a couple of times before then you find you can sing along to quite a few of the songs, as I was.
Their last gig of 2014, I was surprised that Felony didn’t perform with the full energy I’ve seen them deliver in previous sets. They were all smiles, Marc Ainley chatting away with band members and the audience, but the overall set was less animated than I had anticipated.
Still, this is not something you can ever say about MOTHER. With Sam Howell returning to the stage, joining the other musicians, the crowd were introduced to the band by what I thought was a fantastic instrumental introduction. For seven minutes they performed a vigorous overture, which gave the audience a chance to comfortably step forward and await the arrival of their lead singer. Their lead singer, Dave Sinclair, who moved briskly through the crowd and up onto the stage to announce “That first song was shit; the singer needs to sing.” From behind his keyboard, Frost offered a retort, clarifying that this had not been intended.
It didn’t matter – the crowd were warmed up by both Felony and the instrumental. As was drummer James Cooper, who with the arrival of Sinclair removed his shirt to perform the rest of the set. This band do not simply offer an audience their music; they are true performers who seem to embrace this within themselves as much as doing for the fans. Comfortable on any stage, they don’t stop. Christopher Frost switching between guitar and keys seamlessly between songs, the blur created as they all move so feverishly and Sinclair just about covering every inch of the stage as he dances with those he shares with and the audience before him.
They’re the only band I’ve seen where the girls are stood back, tapping their feet and swaying to the music, while the lads get up and move around on the dance floor. It’s a different atmosphere, at a MOTHER gig than any other, which defies stereotypes.
It is easy to focus all of your attention on Dave Sinclair, whose toes spent half of the set hanging over the edge of the stage. There is no controlling him, as his personality controls the entire room. When he’s not bouncing across the front of the stage, he’s taking swigs of beers or downing shots from wherever he finds them. When he’s not punching the air or inviting the crowd to clap along, he’s chatting with us and his band. In a display of pure electric energy, he’s everywhere at once.
But you’ve got four extremely talented musicians, who confidently perform even when their frontman is late to approach the stage and early to exit it. For almost an entire ten minutes, they played powerfully together, completely in tune with each instrument and producing a solid sound which captivates everyone in the room.
It’s an experience you need to experience in the world of music. A band which is so intense that your expectations seem like the coal in your stocking compared the gift you are truly granted.
An amazing first event for the magazine. I thoroughly enjoyed the night, and was pleased to see that everyone else felt the same way. The mood of the room as DJ Jordan Coombs played an assortment of upbeat indie tunes, was warm and uplifting; a perfect way to spend a November night.