Dream Nails w/ Fresh – 1 in 12 Club, Bradford – 21/07/17

Sometimes the best things are hidden. If you are new to Bradford, you could be forgiven for scratching your head as to where the 1 in 12 Club is. Residing off the beaten track, right in the heart of the West-Yorkshire city’s centre, tonight it played host to a gig put on by TMB’er Joe Emmett and operating under his Basement Scene moniker with XOXO promotions. On an unusually warm Bradford night, I headed down to the Anarchist club to check out the four acts on tonight’s bill
First up tonight is Duck, a trio hailing from Sheffield self-described as “wonky synth/guitar noise pop”, they certainly live up to that handle tonight with more on top. Duck’s set is a glorious concoction of pulverising noise and melodic sub current, a balance that bands rarely achieve let alone do it this well. The band’s two newest singles ‘Low’ and ‘Monsters’ are the highlights tonight’s set, ‘Low’ exhibiting Chris, Ange and Sarah’s knack for creating something beautifully subversive. ‘Monsters’, however, is jaw-droppingly good, all warped vocals and hefty synths. For a band with only one EP to their name, and a debut album coming out in September, Duck’s set tonight is hugely impressive. A fantastically exciting band to keep a close eye on.

Fresh from fronting DIY mainstays Colour Me Wednesday on their recent tour with Lemuria, Jen Doveton is performing as Baby Arms tonight, her solo project. Opening up with latest single ‘Eviscerator’,  a near-perfect blast of melodic pop-punk, before performing a spell-binding acapella version of ‘Garden City’, the heart-wrenching lyric “I know you don’t care what records I put on” powerfully hanging in the air long after it’s uttered. And it’s Jen’s ability to craft these moments of sparklingly clear insight, a unique precision to distill and unravel everything that is going on around her, that makes her set tonight so special.

It has been exciting to watch Fresh‘s development from their debut EP Gewingchum, released in 2015. Tonight, on the verge of releasing their first LP on Specialist Subject Records, their set is explosive. ‘Cinema Woes’ and ‘Passing’ are sweaty, arms aloft, scream along moments of raucous fun, as are the band’s latest singles ‘Fuck My Life’ and ‘I’ll Be Back’. On stage, the London four-piece look as if they’re having the time of their lives, and the crowd definitely picks up on that. Fresh are on top form tonight, and if the set is a sign of what to expect from their LP coming out in August, it could well be one of the records of the year.

It could have been the case that following Duck, Baby Arms and Fresh phased London four-piece Dream Nails. However, that could have not been more wrong. From the striking of the first chord, Dream Nails are a tour-de-force ploughing through a set bristling with punk energy. Their set is a finely honed and focused blast of pure energy that nobody in the room can ignore. But to focus just on what Dream Nails are playing tonight would sell them short. “First things first, let’s get all the girls to the front” state the band three songs into the set, showing why they are so special as a band. This is activism in action, this is a band owning any space they enter and enacting positive social change where they can, one venue at a time.