Live Review: Spector @ Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

A crowd surfing Fred Macpherson gets an empty crisp packet snatched from his pocket and chips his tooth in the process, whilst four fully grown men make it on stage and have a dance with security

Image: Paul Hudson

Image: Paul Hudson

★★★★☆

Three quarters of the way into Spector’s riotous set at Leeds’ Brudenell Social Club, a crowd surfing Fred Macpherson has an empty crisp packet snatched from his pocket and chips his tooth in the process, whilst four fully grown men make it on stage and have a dance with security, all which unfolds with mood lighting skirting a portrait of anarchy.

For those who are unfamiliar with these indie mavericks, think of the scepticism associated with just about every thirty-something – trying to mature but really having a bit of an identity crisis. It’s a conflicting concept, but Spector are a conflicting band: they’re beset by vulnerability yet somehow exert grandness. Macpherson is charismatic as much as he is theatrical on stage, throwing shapes reminiscent of teens at a nineties roller-disco, and at the same time encapsulating some god-like stature which sees him preach of his failed relationships.

What’s refreshing here too is the absence of the smartphone documentation which has become so chokingly synonymous with gigs. Try recording the performance on your smartphone and you’d find your mobile a splintered pile of metal slithers on the floor by the curfew. This rather specialised audience was one that forced you to actually enjoy the live music experience: who would have thought that the Brudenell would feel like a detox for this reviewer.

The quartet play their cards just right, with the glass-half-full opulence of ‘Chevy Thunder’, ‘Friday Night, Don’t Ever Let It End’ and ‘Celestine’ forming a mosh pit so heated that Macpherson at one point finds himself explicitly asking the audience to halt for the softer points. There’s some underlying narcissism about the whole affair, with ‘West End’, ‘Bad Boyfriend’ and ‘Stay High’ documenting the cynical banalities of contemporary romance.

Self-indulgence is Spector’s forte, and Fred refuses to patronise his audience with an encore, so just gets on with it. This doesn’t lessen the apotheosis of hysteria, though. Somehow, a congregation bellowing ‘we’re all beautiful now like they were beautiful then / all the miserable girls, all the sad young men’ is surprisingly elating, but maybe that’s just Macpherson’s showmanship helping us to mistake obnoxious misery for self-assurance.

The soundbites end clean cut and the mist around the edges settles; forget Friday night ending, this reviewer would rather their Sunday at the Brudenell didn’t have to come to a close.

Leave a comment