Live Review: Little May – Leeds

Little May

photo: Mclean Stephenson

photo: McLean Stephenson

The Games Room, Leeds, October 10th 2015

Words: Julia Grantham

Back at The Brudenell Social Club last Saturday night in Leeds -a venue which is fast becoming my second home,  I found myself in ‘The Games Room’ for the Little May gig. A smaller, quieter room than the main gig venue, this additional gig space is perhaps a little less impressive, aesthetically than the main event and yet suited the smaller audience that was to inhabit the room that night.

I casually sipped my amaretto and diet coke, chatted to a group of friends (not of mine) and awaited the first support act. We had discussed-this group of friends and I-what kind of band might accompany Little May. Anything goes, doesn’t it really? And as it happened, it wasn’t another folk-inspired band, but a group called: Hunny from Nottingham. A two-piece grunge outfit, who seemed heavily inspired by the likes of Nirvana and Pixies. They were charismatic, chatty and filled the room with their raucous and energetic sound. The best song for me was Black and White which they keenly informed us was on their Soundcloud. A great way to start the evening!

After hunny, came Katie Dean. A Leeds-based artist this time, and she had a wonderful folk-pop sound. She had a really solid, catchy sound, with a great band behind her and was engaging and friendly when I had the pleasure of meeting her briefly too! I loved her songs. My favourites were: Here we are, Already Gone, and With You. She reminded me of Shelby Lynne at times, and yet her folk influences are clear, and influences such as Fleetwood Mac are evident (she does a brilliant cover of Dreams!) Katie did a brilliant job of warming up the crowd or what was to come, and got the audience roused and ready for Little May.

The band who are a trio, but had recruited a further two people to perform live, appeared and opened their set with Home, a solid pop-folk number from their debut album For The Company. A catchy, punchy number and the perfect opening song to introduce themselves to the audience. It has an aura of uncertainty about it, and ends abruptly on the line: “I don’t think we’ll know, til we get home”, a nod perhaps to the fact that they were performing for their first ever time in Leeds, the other side of the world from where they live. Their songs are full of wise, words of wisdom, and yet they are young, fresh-sounding and full of youthful, playful humour and poise. They were charming, and told us how pleased they were to be touring and thanked us for coming to listen. It was obvious that they had a solid fan-base among the modest crowd. More and more people came forward to dance and sing along to their songs, and this continued throughout the set, as they gained momentum. A subtle, almost hypnotic effect, you could say. It was wonderful.

Highlights for me were: Seven Hours which was serene and delivered beautifully, I found myself completely taken over by the music, and loved the way that I became lost in it, so much so that I lost all self-consciousness and didn’t even notice that I was dancing all by myself at the front of the crowd! Hide was another highlight for me, such intricate guitar sounds, a real understated song, but the hidden within the ethereal lyrics are an important tale of a woman scorned. This was performed brilliantly, with passion and vigour, and accompanied by some kick-ass dancing from the lead singer. I loved it! Oh My My was another great one, it really gathered pace and had me purposefully dancing whilst getting lost in the percussion. There wasn’t one moment where they lost the audience, in fact the opposite was true, and even though we shouted for more, they just smiled before leaving the stage, and mingling with the crowd; they were happy to hang out and chat to their fans. They make being folk-inspired musicians and artists look stylish and appealing.  All dressed in black with awesome hair, and looking effortlessly cool. Add to that some beautiful music with soulful and poetic songs, this was a great gig to have seen. I would love to see them again, and I urge you not to miss out on seeing Little May if ever you have the chance!

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