Cape Cub, Amy May Ellis // House Concerts York // 22.10.16
“I’ve never played a gig in a house before,” was a sentiment shared by both acts on October 22nd, where in an undisclosed location outside York, Cape Cub were set to perform, supported by Amy May Ellis. Arranged by House Concerts York, the environment is exactly what the name suggests; a house in which artists from around the world perform to a room of around 50 people sitting on benches 2 meters away, or standing at the back, next to the kitchen. Intimate doesn’t go far enough to describe the setting, with a feeling ever-present that we were more like mates watching a friend’s band practice in their house than an audience.
Amy May Ellis opened the evening, zig-zagging around her audience to get to the front of the room. A local from North Yorkshire, the singer-songwriter and her soft ukulele tones formed a combination that was both charming and mesmerising, carrying a gentle voice that suddenly burst into ululating shouts.
Cape Cub then made their way to the stage, with their drummer having to go around the outside of the house to get to his kit. With 4 people and all their instruments inhabiting such a small space, the band didn’t have much room to manoeuvre.
Opening with ‘Closer’ from their debut EP of the same name, I began to understand the potential in Cape Cub. Beginning slowly, with echoing, stripped-back instruments and melancholic vocals, they slowly built and erupted into a driving, surrounding noise that bounced off the living room walls. The band played hard, with no regard as to the size of room they were occupying. The thumping bass, crashing cymbals and drilling guitar tones flooded every corner, with the kick drum’s impact close enough to resonate in your cheekbones.
Even with the wash of noise, there was never an overwhelming wall of sound. The effect was loud and hypnotic, with a feeling of pensiveness emanating from frontman Chad Male’s vocals and the rest of the band’s chanted backing.
The evening came to a close somewhat abruptly. Being a new project, Cape Cub have yet to create a sizable discography, even though their songs have millions of combined streams on SoundCloud and Spotify. After playing a brilliant set that left me greedily wanting more, they made their way to the back of the room to a chorus of applause and congratulations. Leaving the house into a consuming darkness, I was left incredibly happy to have seen a band that seemed set to pack huge venues hunched in the comfortable environment of a bench in someone’s front room.