11th October | Rough Trade
1% of One are a Bristol-based event organiser who specialise in putting together highly eclectic nights of music in some of the city’s best venues. This past Friday they put the spotlight on South London’s Jerkcurb, with support from local band Swallow Cave, to host a night of slow, soulful indie-pop at the record-store-turned-music-and-arts-venue, Rough Trade.
Openers Swallow Cave were a real treat, sounding like a band that love the music they play. They played unhurried and swoony pysch-rock, with strong melodic guitars and some brilliant husky vocal harmonies. Despite how great the singing was, it never felt like the focus of the songs. The instrumentals were long passages of overlapping riffs and hazy arpeggios, with lyrics added to accent moments of the music, rather than the other way round.
Their hooky earworms were full of groove provided by some standout bass playing, which held the tracks together, and often switched to act as the instrumental lead. The paced, swinging aspects of their music gave the entire set a ‘The Girl From Ipanema’ vibe, sipping coffee on a balcony in the summer, loungey and soothing and understatedly optimistic. The final song the group played brought a distorted, 60s smoky sound into the mix, with the lead guitarist switching between gnarly guitar lines and psychedelic keyboards to finish a fantastic showcase of an up-and-coming local talent.
Following this was Jerkcurb, with his first headline show outside of London and with a “newish line-up” to his six-piece band. His confidence was instantly apparent, letting the first voice heard during his set not be his own, before belting out with his own moving style that had just a tinge of Josh Homme about it. Female vocal harmonies littered his songs, which themselves had a diverse sound pallet of percussive, electronic and acoustic moments, often all at once.
On stage, Jerkcurb was a very different beast from on record. Where wax versions of his songs sound delicate and soft, on stage they sounded large and meaty, more brazen and more sonically lush. The music lurched, dripped and flowed between styles and genres whilst still retaining the restrained lounge music ambiance and controlled, virtuoso, composed indie-pop which he showcased on his recent debut, Air Con Eden.
Unfortunately the crowd were annoyingly (and loudly) talkative throughout, very nearly ruining a band whose music focuses on the subtle, fleeting moments of genius played over grand and complex moments of reserved indie-rock. Despite this setback, though, Jerkcurb managed to accent his unique take on the indie canon on stage, sounding quite unlike any of his peers, his melodies being consistently inspiring and his songs blending into often unrepeated moments of singular brilliance.
Overall, 1% put on an incredible and eclectic duo, whose music and styles were complimentary. As a result, their punters were treated to a night of creatively written and relaxed indie- and psych-rock, that challenged the audience as much as it did comfort.
See the video for ‘Timelap Tulip’ here: