Review: The Lutras, Be Like Pablo and Kasama @ The Stove 22/9/18
For the price of a cup of coffee, music fans were treated to a foot stomping, head banging evening of entertainment at The Stove in Dumfries on Saturday 22nd September, in association with Off-Axis Scotland.
Kicking off proceedings were Kirkcudbright outift Kasama, formerly known as Black Mango. The rockers oozed confidence and charisma, with frontman Tyee Wright exhibiting a Liam Gallagher-esque stage presence and vocal tone. However, delicate and thoughtful guitar work combined with a tight and creative rhythm section dismissed any notion of Oasis wannabes. Kasama are the real deal and, perhaps most impressively, displayed maturity to command a small audience in such an intimate setting, despite perhaps being better suited to a rowdy crowd on a festival stage.
Kasama are five very talented musicians that possess the spark and attitude required to generate a strong following, and I cannot recommend listening to their music enough (particularly after a drink or five!). The boys closed with ‘Holding Up the Sun’, a relentlessly energetic Britpop number featuring a superb ‘Can you feeeeeel it now!!!!’ singalong moment, perfect for the FIFA 19 soundtrack. Give them a listen!
Song to check out: Holding Up the Sun
Next to take to the stage in front of a growing, although still small, audience were Be Like Pablo, who deserve tremendous praise for travelling five hours from the Highlands to play in their favourite ‘city’ Dumfries (a comment made amongst very likeable between-song chit-chat). I had never heard of the band before tonight so was eager to listen, and was drawn in immediately. Be Like Pablo are immensely bold and brave in their compositions, not shy to produce slightly corny and American style ‘Geekpop’ (think Phineas and Ferb theme song). They layer synthesisers, guitars and harmonies underneath a loveably vulnerable lead singer, and I was thoroughly engaged throughout their half hour set. It was refreshing to trade in my Kasama fuelled bucket hat and parka in favour of a skateboard for a wee while, although I was in the minority amongst the crowd.
I was curious to find out more about this band and a quick Google search post-show made it clear that Be Like Pablo are an act with a strong following (single ‘Julianne’ has over 18,000 YouTube views) and a handsome CV (praise from the NME, airplay from Dermot O’Leary, a BBC Scotland ‘Single of the Week’ for track ‘My Kind of Girl’ and a write up in Clash magazine).
Be like Pablo prove it’s cool not to be cool. And I like it!
Song to check out: Do You Wanna Go Surfin?
The Lutras have gigged relentlessly over the last couple of years, taking their guitar driven rock to Edinburgh, Manchester and Carlisle, as well as a couple of dates at the famous King Tut’s in Glasgow. They recently performed at Electric Fields and have packed local venues such as The Coach and Horses and the Queen of the South Pub several times since reforming in 2016. This is a band that continue to build momentum with every gig.
This was my first Lutras show since December of last year and I was immensely impressed by the confidence exhibited from the four piece to play so many new and original songs to a very keen audience. It would have been easy for them to play to the crowd and combine their original songs with the covers that they perform so well (anyone who went to a Lutras gig in 2016 will remember the scenes every time they played ‘Dakota’ by The Stereophonics), but that is not the Lutras way. They are a band that always move forward and never linger on past success. They want the crowd to sing back their songs. And that is exactly what happened.
We were treated to a thumping set, including well known tracks ‘Run and Hide’, ‘Vari’ and my personal favourite, ‘Under The Red Light’, a tune that would not look out of place on an early Arctic Monkeys record. Frontman Ben Clements, blessed with a honey-granite voice, sings beautifully crafted lyrics in the verse before a thundering chorus of ‘Tell me that you want me/ say that you need me/ and I’m all yours’. This is combined with an infectious guitar riff and wonderfully constructed break down section, building back up to the chorus once more to finish. Mixed into the set are new songs performed to an audience for the first time, that demonstrate more inventive songwriting and stronger musicianship across the band.
What is perhaps most impressive is how much The Lutras have evolved from their early original songs. As someone who owns a CD of the first demos released by the band and listened to it relentlessly in the car for months, it is testament to their hunger and work-rate that songs as good as ‘Naked’ and ‘Abigail’ no longer make the cut on the set-list. The Lutras are a band that appear comfortable within their own skin yet possess the crucial ingredient of always striving to improve.
So, c’mon, go out and support them while they’re still playing for the price of a cup of coffee.
We should feel lucky to have them.
Song to check out: Under The Red Light
Words by Sam Solley.