Written for Epigram.
Join Glaswegian band Catholic Action at The Louisiana this Saturday, supporting Nottingham-trio Kagoule on an anticipated UK tour. Expect a pre-headline show of wholesome pop-rock energy, sporadic melodic synth and a throwback to the unparalleled indie sounds of the noughties.
With considerable backing from BBC Radio 1, the band have hit the mainstream with their classic pop-rock sound, but have brought some familiarities of the alternative scene with them. Their newly released debut album, In Memory Of, invokes distinctive riffs and rudimentary drum patterns reflective of early Franz Ferdinand anthems, while darker bass tones and self-assured delivery helps bring out the band’s slight style diversions.
Catholic Action will be joined by lo-fi luminary formations; local band Wych Elm and gig headliners Kagoule. Head down!
Deputy Music Editor, Kate Hutchison reviews Kagoule’s headline show at The Louisiana.
Lo-fi Nottingham trio Kagoule played to a substantial crowd at The Louisiana on Saturday night, supported by indie-rock band Catholic Action, and Bristol-based Wych Elm.
Catholic Action is not a revolutionary act, and they seemed like a misinformed choice as support for the explosive grunge of Kagoule. The Glaswegian group collates rudimentary drum rhythms together with riffs reminiscent of noughties indie beneath disingenuous, Americanised vocal. But with Big Jeff there to watch, something had to give.
There is a worry with small-scale rock shows – sound quality can be poor; distortion obscuring slurred vocals and basslines left untraceable. Yet, unlike most, Catholic Action’s respective sounds were expertly balanced, with unambiguous lyrics markedly drained over bouncy melodies. But this shouldn’t be a challenge for these guys, given their loyalty to a much-rehearsed form of indie material.
Opening with ‘Doing Well,’ frontman Chris McCrory established an amicable dialogue with the audience, continuing sporadically between tunes derivative of slightly underwhelming alt-rock; an intriguing confidence for a band who has only been in Bristol once before. Later, the band revealed a new track from their second, unreleased album, which unveiled prepossessing tempo alterations and a reinforcement of the sincere energy that characterised their entire performance. They’re not my bag, but if you want to widen your catalogue of lively indie bands, give Catholic Action a listen.
Kagoule’s set strayed from the innocuous sounds of their support, wrapping up with a loud, standoffish showcase of new and old material. The band was familiar with the stage; bassist Lucy Hatter and guitarist Cai Burns confrontationally shoving in time to their post-hardcore noise.
The vocal range of Hatter was a prevalent feature of the performance, offering the room with an ethereal counterbalance against the brutish, momentum-filled basslines and uncompromised drums juddering the ground beneath. But Kagoule doesn’t produce incipient music; their instrumental expertise is undoubted. Lawrence English (drummer) has strong technique. His drum rudiments were tight and varied, infecting beat-driven patterns with novel accents, while Burns understatedly controlled the pedal boards responsible for the broad scope of melodic sound demanded by 2015’s Urth.
The only reasonable complaint to be made of the trio’s performance was their reluctant encore; it was only through the urging jeer of the audience did the band play one final track: ‘Glue.’ The crowd didn’t seem bothered by Kagoule’s hesitance, though. They got what they wanted.