It’s been 13 years since W&H gave their first EP a glowing 10/10, and 9 years since I first encountered The Kut, again writing for these very pages. It’s been a long time coming, and perhaps because of that, the arrival of their debut album, which crashed into the top 10 of the rock chart, and an attendant – not to mention extensive – tour feels even more momentous.
And so they finally visit Leeds, on a particularly clammy Sunday night, to play an intimate basement bar. And while they’ve played countless festival and major events, I can’t help thinking that this is precisely the type of space it’s best to see them – or, indeed, nay band for that matter.
They’ve got 3 supports tonight: Bradford boys Stand Alone bring chunky but melodic rock with 90s US alternative leanings, while Mollyanna return to Leeds from their Sheffield base to deliver an assured set of Paramore-esque rock. If visually they lack a certain band cohesion, musically, they’re solid and singer Bernadette pours angst and emotional depth into the lyrics, which she delivers with has plenty of fire.
Things really start to get interesting when Weekend Recovery take to the stage. Also touring their debut album, they’ve established a fan-base willing to travel and a real sense of community (and party) spirit and have grown immensely as a live act over the last year and a half. Tonight, they’re tight enough, but more than anything, they’ve cranked up the intensity, going all out, opening with ‘Turn it Up’ and doing just that.
Lorin goes full Courtney on grunge monster ‘Why Don’t You Stay?’ with its driving descending chord sequence, and when Josh decamps from the stage to work the fuck out of his bass in the front row, to be joined by Lorin – who will ultimately conclude the set thrashing about on the floor – they move into total rock ‘n’ roll territory. The two new songs from their forthcoming EP prove welcome – and strong – additions to the set, and the band’s momentum really does look to be gathering pace.
The Kut may have gone through label-induced stasis on the release front at a critical point in their career, as well as undergone a number of lineup changes, but the fact they’re here is testament to Princess Maha’s unstinting determination and commitment to playing live, with annual tours building a solid and dedicated fan-base long before finally breaking out and emerging, stronger than ever, to deliver a nigh-on faultless debut album.
Without any preamble or pissing about, the threesome pick up their instruments and pile into ‘I Am Vain’. Throwing in early non-album single ‘Doesn’t Matter Anyway’ (retitled ‘DMA’ and grittied up to correspond with the current sound) is a pleasant surprise on a personal level, and ‘I Want You Maniac’ and ‘I Don’t Need Therapy’ are perfect examples of the way The Kut combine simple 4-chord structures – the classic punk and grunge template – with big hooks and memorable choruses. The delivery, too, is big on energy as both Maha and bassist Stella Vie pogo and lunge non-stop throughout the set, exuding an energy that’s infectious.
There’s a new song, ‘Don Juan’, which gets an airing and shows early promise, before wrapping up with a double whammy of a rollicking rendition of ‘Bad Man’, which gets the audience singing along, and current single cut ‘Hollywood Rock ‘n’ Roll, it’s a punchy set that leaves the crowd wanting more. Which means they’d better get back to Yorkshire pretty sharpish.