Saturday, 23 February 2013

The DD Tour

You wouldn't believe how small the venue was, unless you were there, but I will try to explain it anyway. Santiago Bar is a tiny bar inside the Grand Arcade in the middle of Leeds. It has a bar at the enterance and then a little staircase down to a lower level which is where the bands set up. The place definitely have a feel of a "basement party in high school", as the last act of the evening, Phil X, put it.

Excited and with no knowledge of what to expect, people started lining up outside the bar. After running a little bit late, they finally let us in. As one of the first people to get in, I went straight to the stage area. No pushing through people, no thinking "I won't be able to see the band from here". The atmosphere was very laid back, and the audience seemed generally happy about what was going on.

The first act of the evening was Paul Glover. Equipped with only a guitar, a pedal and a loud speaker system, he managed to make people stop talking and just listen to what he had to do. He is a very talented guitarist, and as far as I could tell, there wasn't anyone there who wasn't impressed by what he did.

A little while after Mr Glover finished his last solo, a five-man-band walked through the audience and started tuning their guitars and preparing the stage for the next set. That's how small the venue is, there's not even a separate door for the musicians to enter and leave the stage. Stormborn is like an 80s rock band on steroids(is that what you call power metal these days?) It was difficult not to smile and cheer along to them, because they were full of energy and they did create a very good atmosphere. The only thing that worried me slightly was that they were five people, swinging their instruments and limbs around, in very small amount of space. It was incredible that no one -the audience or the band- got smacked across the face.

The highlight of the evening(for many in the crowd) came next, Dorje. Rob Chapman was literally in my face through the whole concert. What was different about this band, was that they were very including. They talked to the audience and included us in the show. They delivered a well performed set list with some killer solos. Mr Chapman himself was very welcoming, thanking us all for turning up and singing along to their songs. These guys are incredible talented, and it is difficult to take your eyes of their hands wondering whether one of them will mess up. None of them ever did, as far as I could tell. What more could you ask from a band?
Rabea Massaad and Rob Chapman

The last band for the evening was Phil X and The Drills. Playing in such an intimate room was definitely a new experience to them, but they didn't seem to mind. Phil X is a star. He knows how to entertain and he knows how to get the crowd going. The Drills performed everything from Swatted Fly to Kiss My Troublemaker. They also covered bands like ZZ Top, The Knack and Led Zeppelin. All in all the set list was very good, even though they seemed to make most of it up as they went along. Nothing wrong with that! The trio is a very funny combination. Not only do they "kick ass" on their instruments, but they also have an insane chemistry with each other.

Phil X
All in all, the evening was unforgetable, and I give it a 6(out of 6, obviously) because they proved that size really doesn't matter. A small venue results in an extraordinary experience.

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