17th May | Crofters Rights

Stokes Croft is its own universe; a planet of glorious technicolour, vibrancy and intoxicating nightlife, which you must navigate with the utmost caution. Turning up to Crofters Rights on Friday night was no different.

Densely packed with hip art students and groups of after-work-beers lads, the evening felt alive with anticipation. Behind the unassuming stage door readied Club Kuru’s two support acts: Archie Valentine and Seb & The Daymen. Both bands fell into Club Kuru’s tropical, frivolous style of rock; winding guitar solos and strong melodies carried their performances to an eager crowd. And while both respective frontmen seemed a little lacklustre in their back-and-forth with the audience, their sets laid out a decent precedent for what was to come.

Straight from the bar came Club Kuru at around 9:30pm, lamenting on love “by the window pane”. It was a strong opener – a slow and lazy love song tinged with 70s burnt orange, hazy vocals and solid support from a five-piece band. Merging snippets of French philosophies and noodling guitar solos, tracks from their 2019 album Meet Your Maker suited their surroundings. The small (but invested) crowd gently tapped their feet and swayed their pints from side to side to easily digestible sonics.

‘Giving In’ was a big pleaser, both visually, to watch guitarist Laurence twang those beachside, surfer-rock chords and sonically, with lead vocalist Laurie’s almost-whispers. The addition of keys, bass and live drums on stage added to the fullness of Club Kuru’s sound, really rounding out the intricate melodies like that of a good surround-sound system.

As quickly as things kicked off, they began to spiral. In a brief pause for breath between songs, Laurie tripped backwards, just grasping onto the mic stand in time. “You gotta play those hits…Ha ha…There are no hits,” he slurred into the mic, slipping slowly between his fingers. The drummer quickly tapped into ‘Ribbons’, a leading single from their 2018 record Giving In. The cracks really started to show.

Laurie’s vocals became ever-increasingly jumbled, on and off the beat like an X Factor audition gone wrong. He stumbled back and forth between the synth machine and his mic stand, clutching onto whatever he could to stay upright. “We are a band…Yes, a band,” he muttered before being cut off by loud keys launching into another track. Artists can usually get away with this sort of performance to a point, but after four or five songs, it felt awkward to carry on watching.

Despite a very strong start, the slacker-rock ensemble let itself down in front of a crowd that expected much, much more.

See the video for ‘Film Credits’ here: