Live reviews

Athlete - The Charlotte, Leicester
Athlete are one of the country’s promising new bands as evidenced by current single ‘El Salvador’ and last year’s ‘Athlete’ EP. The band has enjoyed plenty of prime time radio airplay and has supported bands ranging from Manson to the Polyphonic Spree. This is their first headline tour, promoting their forthcoming ‘Vehicles and Animals’ album.

Supported by Longview (good songs, even better backing vocals!) ‘the Charlotte’ was approximately two thirds full for the gig, and had a great atmosphere. This was greatly aided by the band and their stage presence - well ‘blokey’ and chatty, with singer Joel Pott taking the time to talk between songs and connect with the audience. The result was the crowd holding them with both reverence and affection.

The opening track was indeed ‘El Salvador’. The band are now at the stage where the crowd know the words to certain songs… and the opener must have been chosen with this in mind. Other highlights here include ‘Westside’ and ‘You Got The Style’ (both from last year’s EP). All contain excellent sing-along choruses that make for a great live spectacle. As their debut album is not released until April 7th then there was plenty of material the crowd would not be familiar with. However it was all well received – a credit to its quality and accessibility. Although the band make plenty of use of different sounds and effects (a ‘la Beta Band and first album Gomez) it’s the songs that really shine through.

Comparisons have been made to Steely Dan in this area – a huge compliment for sure. The individual members all play other instruments than the basic guitar (Joel), bass (Carey Willets), drums (Steve Roberts) and keyboards (Tim Wanstall) set up. This furthers the Beta Band comparison and gives impressive and true live versions of the recorded material. A standout track is the title track from the debut album – ‘Vehicles and Animals’. A song about childhood innocence, it was received with great warmth by the audience. It also shows a band playing with confidence about themselves; it was the opening encore track, and is basically Joel and an acoustic guitar, holding the audience in his palm. No need for any great rock-out track descending into chaos as many bands would have chosen at this point in the show. Just quality.

Matty P


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