The Tuts

The Tuts


A Carefully Planned Festival is best known for taking over the Northern Quarter every October to shine a light on some of the country’s unknown acts, commonly known only to those in-the-know *hush hush* *sniff *sniff*. Tonight I cannot stroke my beard or nod along knowingly though, as tonight is most definitely a journey into the unknown for me with three acts I know little about. My trust is in your hands Carefully Planned Festival!

If you’re ever going to go on a journey into the unknown, make sure it’s at the Eagle Inn. Committed gig goers and of course, drinkers, trek through dark alleys and winding roads to reach this isolated Olde English pub nightly. If you do ever make it here after you’ve already got lost four times, darkness and a disused industrial site are the only things around – you’ll be glad to get inside.

From my embarrassingly sparse research, I know that Gurgles, the first band, make psych rock and that they’re in good company having had their album produced by none other than MJ from Hookworms. They hardly look like rockstars when they tackle the steep wooden steps that lead to the stage, as they are all middle aged and the lead singer dons a felt cap you’d see your dad wearing. The narcissists among us may have written them off already.

The three piece get things with going with ‘Eccleshill’, a song about a place in Bradford where the group cut their teeth while growing up. It starts with much mystique as proggy space synths sound out, before it quickly evolves into a warm chorus brimming with nostalgia. Like ‘Eccleshill’, we all have our own small town place that we attach a huge amount of romance to, although it may look like a shithole through others eyes and it’s good to celebrate that.

They continue in the form with ‘Summer In The Sun’, another breezy pop song, but then the standards drop a little with their next song as it sounds like something that simply harks back to an era that’s gone without offering anything unique. Their politics are clear to us when they start their next song, lead single ‘Weakdays’, a song about post office privatisation. This one is so catchy it’d be easy to throw aside the politics and get lost in the melody.  The ending grants us a moment of intimacy, as drums are stripped away and the frontman’s vocal soar in harmony with his sumptuous synths. It’s a classy moment representative of their whole set, and despite a few slips along the way, this is a performance full of potential.

Baby Brave

A household name with festivals such as Sounds From The Other City and, obviously, a Carefully Planned Festival, Baby Brave come on stage tonight with a bit of expectation on them. It starts well with ‘Shimmch’, a nice pop punk song that you can dance to, but we’re soon crying out for variation as each song follows the same model. ‘Jitters’ never dares to stray from conformity and despite a lovely slow start to ‘Traxx’, the versatility doesn’t last for long with that unwelcome pop punk arriving again, nearly instantly.

Although there continues to be infectious riffs and the odd catchy chorus, the songs fail to explore below the surface. Taken from their most recent EP, ‘Rock Paper Scissors’ is the perfect example of this with its ending coda that sees the lead singer repeat “Can I come over and play rock paper scissors while you sleep'”. It’s too cute and makes for a set that has simply been too playful never looking to do anything but put people on the road to escapism. No surprises here folks.

I remember the explosion of Arctic Monkeys as the first truly British internet band very well. Back then, a community of fans overruled the music world we knew ran by A&Rs and Record Labels, and managed to bring a band into the limelight all by ourselves through the use of Myspace (I miss you) and file sharing websites. Although the internet band was then in it’s very first period of evolution,  it has now manifested itself into something much bigger where musicians, if they have a big enough fanbase, are able to make money without a record label by selling their albums on Bandcamp and even in some cases getting fans to fund their albums with crowd funding websites such as Kickstarter now all the rage.

Three piece girl band The Tuts are managing to make a name for themselves largely through doing this. Their online community of fans quickly snaps up all of their work on Bandcamp before anyone else can and have even gone onto fund the band to record their first debut album. It’s definitely a brave new world but an exciting one with artists able to thrive without submitting to the wills of a record label.

They can’t do everything though right?! And tonight that immediately proves true, as they are the first band to have someone actually set up for them, bloody prima donnas! A sign hung up near the entrance had warned us that we would not be allowed to go on the balcony between Baby Brave and Tuts, and we all know why when Spice Girls comes out of the speakers and Tuts dance and scream together. It’s some sort of team bonding I guess, but it’s a bit cliched and potentially a bit of a selfish reason to throw us all off the balcony. God I’m so old!

This potentially immature excitement hasn’t faded when they reach the stage, as they launch into this first song ‘Tut Tut Tut!’ which starts with the drummer shouting ‘Tut tut tut’ in a cheerleader-like chant putting my cringe levels instantly on high alert. What follows is an energetic punk song, where the three girls give their all. The drums are rolling, the vocals are passionate and the guitars are loud, but what they have in passion they lack in depth and this sounds, dare I say it, a bit college like.

The Tuts

The Tuts

If I thought Baby Brave’s ‘Rock Paper and Scissors’ was a bit too cute and churlish, you can imagine how alerted I felt when The Tuts announced that their next song is called ‘Dump Your Boyfriend.’ It is completely predictable, a gang of three girls shouting ‘Dump your boyfriend’ as a way to express GRRRLL POWER and it does nothing to qualify this band in my mind as true artists.

Sadly nothing changes from here on in, and the themes of each song are predictable – a manager who they thought to be a c*nt, a guy who was their friend but went cold on them for no reason and a rallying call against men who beep their horns at them. There is nothing of any depth here and with so many great all-female bands making some of the best art out there, think Savages, Warpaint etc, I don’t think we need to revert to seeing girl bands shouting about the fact that they are girls making music. We are passed that. Many of the crowd love it, but, for me, this isn’t it, this isn’t where we need to go. I’ll do more research next time methinks.

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Paddy Kinsella

Hi all, my name is Paddy and I have a love for everything from African music to indie to house (basically anything other than heavy metal). Gigging and listening to albums are genuinely the things I most value and love doing.