Live Review: Tribes

Concorde 2, Brighton - 21st April

Arriving at Brighton train station to hundreds of rowdy football fans being ushered by annoyed looking police, I pottered down to the famous laines to catch the remains of Record Store Day before going to see Tribes at Concorde 2. Luckily, amongst the left over debris of the queues that had been provided with styrofoam cups of hot tea and coffee, I managed to stumble upon an intimate acoustic set in Resident Records (unfortunately I didn't catch who it was). It was charming and quaint with about 15 people gathered around the back end of the shop surrounded by vinyl covers labelled 'Sold Out'. Anyway, that's a story for another day.

My friend and I made our way along the seafront, passing Brighton's dilapidated pier, before getting to Brighton's established Concorde 2. After gaining entry via a crumpled order confirmation email, it was quickly made clear that we were of the minority in terms of age. Which, perhaps to my naivety, was a surprise to me. For the most part, the crowd was made up of 14-16 year olds, eagerly eyeing up the bar, as their parents lingered along the outskirts of the venue sporting Baby (Tribes' debut album) t-shirts and caps. Back in the day I distinctly remember having my (or a friend's) parents driving us to gigs and being ordered not to pick us up ANYWHERE near the entrance, let alone actually coming into the gig with us! Oh how things have changed. Anyway, the second support band, Sharks was already in full swing (with The Brute Chorus having played beforehand); a decidedly teen-Indie Pop affair with upbeat guitar riffs and melodies.

We wandered to the bar amongst the 'kids' and ordered a beer while we waited for Tribes to come on, only for two girls to ask if they could have a sip of my beer. I had a feeling it was going to be one of those nights. After taking up our spots in the crowd against a handy leaning pole, Tribes came on at 9pm to rapturous applause and cheers. Instantly I couldn't see a thing; all of the tallest people in the world had suddenly gathered in front of me, so i resorted to standing on tip-toes for much of the rest of the night. Despite only catching glimpses of the band, I did notice their interesting array of headwear bobbing up and down. So that was fun.

This gig was the first date on the band's UK tour, and the feeling in the room was one of high anticipation. Tribes opened with the album's lead track, Whenever, an anthemic belter which had the audience chanting along. Most of their setlist was taken from Baby, as well as some older gems like Not So pretty from their EP, When My Day Comes, much to the delight of the die-hard fans.

All their big sing-along songs were in the set, including the single, Corner Of An English Field, Sappho, Himalaya, Nightdriving and Halfway Home. The crowd lapped it all up, with one guy getting onto someone's shoulders at the front and frantically waving his arms around as he spilt beer on the people below. In terms of their performance, they gave a good show and were clearly buzzing with that 'opening date' energy, but there was just something lacking for me. This was highly disappointing for me as after I'd reviewed their album a few months back, I was straight onto the box office to buy my tickets. Perhaps it was the venue, maybe it was the atmosphere. Anyway, things got a little better when we moved to the back and we got a better view.

The song I was waiting to hear, We Were Children, appeared during the encore and encapsulated everything that is brilliant about Tribes. The grungy, hopeless but uplifting feel was excellent, I loved it. During that one song I remembered why I had come to the gig and sang along like nobody's business. However, it was a real shame this feeling didn't transpire throughout the rest of the concert. Perhaps if I listened to some of their older tracks I might feel more at ease, but couldn't help feeling a sense of detachment from the band and the gig. I want to give Tribes another chance though, because I think they're really great at what they do but that Saturday night, for me, was somewhat forgettable.