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Live Review: The Snuts, O2 Academy, Leeds, 22/10/2022.

The Snuts – O2 Academy, Leeds.

From Whitburn to Leeds, from the festival small stage to a headline tour, from a bottle of Buckfast to a mid-set tequila shot, The Snuts have certainly come a long way in a short time.

The last time I saw The Snuts they were shoe-horned into a mid-afternoon set on a side stage in a field at Bingley Music Live. Fast forward a few years, via a pandemic and two best-selling albums, and now here they were taking the roof off The Academy in their own sold-out show.

As they entered the stage to a stimulating but thought-provoking sound and vision mix the band laid their social conscience bare for all to see. The packed floor seemed to know what they were going to get, both in terms of their ethics and their music, and they certainly weren’t disappointed. From the opening bars of Pigeons of New York Jack Cochrane’s unique voice hit every note with precision as he progressed through the set with immaculate ease. Perhaps an indicator of their confidence in the set was exposing the crowd to Glasgow so early on in the evening. This certainly got the place rocking and made sure that the audience were in the palms of their hands for the next eighteen songs of the night. Callum Wilson’s immaculate bass along with occasional keyboard work kept the set rolling along through favourites such as The Rodeo and Zuckerpunch, all backed up with sharp graphics and pulsating lighting. Joe McGillveray’s guitar kept the treble soaring, pitched perfectly to enhance the melody of songs like Elephants and Juan Belmonte whilst Jordan MacKay didn’t miss a beat with his percussion.

The raw edge of their music still remains but now it has developed into a sound all of its own; a mix of indie guitar, staccato vocals and electronic uplifts all held together by a strong backbeat. The Snuts have stories to tell and messages to convey. They juggle genres effortlessly between love songs such as Knuckles, to a voice of frustration in the current album’s title track Burn The Empire, to something of a soliloquy in 13 which rightly silenced the raucous crowd briefly. The addition of female vocals on End of the Road, provided on the night by the impressive Heidi Curtis, is something of a masterstroke which gives their music an extra dimension.

They couldn’t resist treating us to an excellent rendition of Seasons for old times’ sake and finished the evening by ensuring that everyone left with that familiar ringing in their ears through the anthemic Fatboy Slim.

The recent social media pressure on their label Parlophone, to release the album early seems to have done them no harm at all. In fact, it appears to have done quite the opposite, as has signing them in the first place. It has bonded them to their fans, kept them focused on developing their sound and ensured that they stay very much themselves – which can’t always be said of other bands who have taken the plunge.

It was a treat to see them. A proper treat…and very much worth the wait.

Duncan Grant.

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