- Queen Zee and the Sasstones
Have you seen 20th Century Women? If you haven’t, watch it. It’s all about finding yourself (and feminist literature) in late 70s California, in a time of transition from punk to post-punk. Both the local support acts for Leeds-based headliners MENACE BEACH sound as though they should feature on its soundtrack (which is wholly excellent, for the record).
Openers and Alcopop Records signees PEANESS are more of a post-punk, indie-pop offering; a gentler brand of gorgeous chugging guitars and sweet and natural sounding harmonies that definitely fits that stateside-coming-of-age-in-independent-cinema aesthetic. Same Place has a guitar undertone that reminds us especially of Sonic Youth, while latest release Seafoam Islands is the set highlight; all melodic, dulcet goodness.
On the other end of the spectrum, but equally impressive, are QUEEN ZEE AND THE SASSTONES, who are next to take the stage in The Magnet. Far from the shying indie pop of Peaness, Queen Zee and co are pure brash, glam-punk. There are remnants of Siouxsie and the Banshees and hints of The Raincoats to be heard in their spitting delivery, especially in the sloganeering sing-a-long of Sissy Fists and the acerbic I Hate Your New Boyfriend.
After that venom, it’s back to polite indie pop with Leeds quartet and Menace Beach’s tour buddies BRUISING. A real peach of a dream pop slacker band, Bruising play the kind of songs you’ll find yourself humming days later, with an aesthetic that says thrown together, not thought out. Their melodic guitars and soft-edged vocals have garnered the attention of Marc Riley, who they’ve recently recorded a 6Music session for, and are showcased delightfully on tonight’s standout tracks Honey and the slower-paced I Don’t Mind. Definitely ones to keep on your radar.
Headliners MENACE BEACH uphold a more constructed aesthetic than support act Bruising, with each member of the five-piece draped head to toe in black. Their songs match their look; harder to distinguish from one another, they’re drowned in a dark, heady scuzz, drenched in reverb. Largely playing from their second album Lemon Memory, their motorik alt. rock is reminscent of The Stooges (with extra fuzz) and Pavement, with punters on the packed out floor stomping along with angst and aplomb to lead single Give Blood and latest release Suck It Out. By this point in the evening, The Magnet is heaving, and Menace Beach fill each crevice, each crack of red leather, with a huge, shaking wall of sound.