Dan Sartain – Brudenell Social Club Games Room, Leeds – 20.04.16

Dan Sartain – Brudenell Social Club Games Room, Leeds – 20.04.16

Walking through a secluded passageway to the back room (easily mistaken for a small nook) at the Brudenell Social Club in Leeds was akin to being transported to a completely different world; to the rows of terraced streets emitting cool house music on a warm Wednesday evening outside, as the heavy wafts of pungent smoke on the mean streets of Leeds jarred with the atmosphere inside the club.  To be precise, the gig kicked off with Adult World, a hyper flat-cap-wearing punk collective whose first gig brought in men with turned up jeans and docs, setting the tone for the evening through the medium of fast drum beats and shouty vocals.

They were followed by X Ray Cat Trio, a band not nearly as ridiculous as the name would suggest, whose rockabilly horror-punk style was emphasised by a large double bass on stage and long played out jamming sessions tinged with surfer rock, not unlike the famous ‘Misirlou’ from Pulp Fiction.

By the time 9:45 dawned, the small room was still only half filled, suggesting that maybe it was the perks of a free gig rather than a big name drawing folks in – something that was telling from the curious looks flickering upon members of the crowd’s faces.  Maybe this was something of a let-down for Dan Sartain, as the first night of his European tour was something he stated he ‘fought for’ in his high pitched Alabama drawl after taking to the basic stage set up, accompanied by only a drummer.  Seemingly, no small amount of promo went into this tour with reminders of an exclusive record store day release of ‘Walk Among The Cobras’ on 7” vinyl ever-present.  However, letting nothing kill his spirits, Dan Sartain took to the stage silently, surveying the audience and entering the long intro of the first song of the set whilst in turn slowly smiling at every person in the crowd, looking like a warped apparition of Joy Division had they been transported to the wild west.

Sartain started with an almost Western soundtrack-esque tune, slow and effective as he two-stepped in his Cuban heeled boots to warm up the crowd, going into a fast paced number.  Filtering in and out of the night were quick beats and dismayed, brittle vocals, mixing with the rockabilly ethos and punk vibes, alongside yelps and catchy riffs creating something very unusual – and perhaps a new brand of music.  It could be argued that this was a great picking from whoever chose the acts, as the whole gig seemed like a theme night, with the support acts complimenting Sartain’s mixture of styles.  His music elicited psychobilly dancing from the crowd only four songs in, creating something quite unique in the small room where the gig was held.

Dan Sartain’s new album Century Plaza is out now, featuring 8 tracks of dark electro-pop. Buy it here.


Sophie Goodall