Tribes – Oran Mor, 21st May 2013

If Dave Grohl really is the nicest man in rock, then Johnny Lloyd of Tribes must be a close second. The frontman smiles in the face of a 4/10 album review, to which he replies, “Fuck you NME! We don’t need that shit anyway.” Tonight the hipsters and the schoolboys swarm to the basement of the Oran Mor to see his band, the day after the release of their second album Wish to Scream.

Tribes live at Live at Leeds 2013

Support is provided by Younger, followed by Blindfolds. The latter are Glaswegian Black Keys-esque rockers with an enviable array of leather jackets. The singer may be so wasted that he nearly falls off the stage, but his vocal talent is undeniably impressive.

Tribes formed in Camden in 2010 and found success as part of the late myspace generation. Last year, they left London to record in LA. Despite this being the first night of their Wish to Scream tour, they choose to begin the set with two older songs, ‘When My Day Comes’ and ‘Sappho’. The room has filled up and the mosh pit starts early.

Unfortunately, whilst their 2011 debut album Baby was comparable to The Libertines and Pixies, Wish to Scream sounds more like a mediocre tribute to Primal Scream. This year they’ve added a keyboard player to bulk up their sound which contributes to an Americana feel and a brass section and gospel choir can also be heard on the new album but there is a notable mid-set lull when Tribes try to get the crowd on side with their new material. As enthusiastic as the band are, the common-time-major-key-power-chord indie is too repetitive to be engaging.

There are redeeming moments however: a guitar solo on ‘Halfway Home’; new acoustic track ‘It Never Ends’; the consistently brilliant drummer. Breakthrough single ‘We Were Children’ is a joyous occasion. Everyone jumps, everyone sings, and Johnny smiles again. ‘Coming of Age’ thrives off this energy in the encore. Hard-core fans are left happy.

Tonight Tribes have energy and personality, but musically? I think the NME were onto something.

[Ellen MacAskill]

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