Sunday, January 09, 2011

Gig Review : Berlin Black, Alice Moving Under Skies, The Mumbles - The Library, Leeds 08/01/11

First up are The Mumbles, two men, one keyboard, a drum machine and a fascination with Ian curtis and Joy Division.  I'm not knocking them, their very Joy division styled new wave goth was warmly appreciated by the slightly sparse audience.

AMUS (Photo - Mark Tee)

Alice Moving Under Skies are a revelation live, singer Penny Dreadful really throws herself into the songs and what a voice she has, I was blown away by the strength of her voice which sounds much more powerful and soulful than on the band's debut album Curioser and Curioser.  AMUS also play with a drum machine, but have real live bass and guitarists in the shape of Anth 'Captain' Adams and Mark Dreizhen respectively. 

AMUS played a set wholly of their own songs, mostly from the debut album, but also showcased two new numbers.  Moondial was a slowish, more trad goth number but with clever harmonies and really put Penny's voice to best use, this new song was simply stunning.  The second new number was another change of pace, Bloodmyer was more up tempo, almost pop goth if you will. The thing that really appeals about AMUS is their easy ability to switch between styles and tempo and as with Brit folk duo Katriona Gilmore & Jamie Roberts, you two bands for your buck when Penny and Mark exchange vocal duties.

I think the headliners full name is Berlin Black and the Shades of Grey, at least that's how they are tagged on Spotify and Scrobbler.  Singer Chris Tuke certainly looks the part, undernourished and with a Robert Smith approved hairdo.  BB are the only band to feature a drummer, I can see why bands on this scene often opt for the simplicity of a drum machine, but having a real sticksman does add to a band's overall sound.

BB have a good sound, you can pick bits of Ultravox, Misfits, The Cure and other influences from their music, but the band were tight and the by now much larger crowd were very much enjoying their efforts.

You can listen to all 3 bands for free on Spotify, or even better, they all have material available via I-Tunes and other outlets.  Tonight was a long trek in the bitter freezing Leeds weather, but I am so glad that I made the effort, two decent bands and one very good one (AMUS), for the princely sum of five quid on the door.  Shame about the lack of a proper pint though, why don't these right on student types support local brewers and force their pubs/bars to serve ale ? /old man rant.


  1. I saw AMUS supporting Nitzer Ebb in York last year - and thought they were awful, I'm afraid. Maybe they've improved since though - it was about a year ago.

  2. PennyDx5:19 pm

    Hi Paul
    It's something that as a band, we have heard more than once. The Nitzer Ebb support is a gig which we wish we had never taken on. Ourselves and the other support act had our sound 'interfered with' by the engineer which was a real shame and sadly we have been playing catchup ever since - for over a year in fact - trying to prove to people that we aren't complete rubbish. Luckily many people have come and seen us again and realised that something was afoot and things were very much out of our hands at the Duchess that night.
    Hopefully we'll get to see you at another gig sometime and you'll be able to see the REAL AMUS. Best regards, PennyDx, Alice Moving Under Skies.

  3. I saw AMUS at their album launch and can confirm they are fabulous live. Great songwriters and passionate performers. Awesome