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Review: Little Comets, Fibbers

On Friday 6th March, Little Comets came to Fibbers. Performing a mixture of new songs and old favourites, the trio showed that their sound is as strong live as it is in the studio.

Sometimes described as ‘kitchen sink indie’, Little Comets can loosely be described as as indie rock, but it’s difficult to think of any other artists that have a similar sound. The band, originally from Tyne and Wear, are coming to the end of a tour to promote their new album, Hope is Just a State of Mind. The band’s third full album since their formation in 2008, it was released in February after a series of EP’s over the past year. Anticipation is in the air as Fibbers begins to fill up and support acts Model Aeroplanes and Hello Operator played to an expectant crowd. Eventually the band step casually onstage, wasting no time and opening with ‘The Gift of Sound’, a track from the new album that is wonderfully easy to sing along to (even if you’ve never heard it before, you’ll get the infectiously catchy chorus before the song is over).

A slightly stripped back , at times raw album in comparison to their previous ones, it allows for the harmonies and lyrics to take centre stage in certain songs, some of which are deeply political. “B&B” (standing for ‘Beer & Bingo’) begins with a reference to a ‘new born tax’ and expresses frustration with politicians and the lingering effects of Thatcherism in the north-east, and ‘The Blur, the Line and the Thickest of Onions” brings up a variety of social issues such as ‘misogyny’, ‘the abuse of body image’, objectification and ‘abortion rights’. That said, there are also simple, emotionally-driven songs such as “My Boy William”, written about guitarist Micky Coles’ son William.

The gig is well executed, flowing from song to carefully chosen song that allows us to hear crowd-pleasers such as “Dancing Song” alongside quieter, reflective songs like “Bridge Burn” without it jarring or losing momentum. In fact, as I walk through town afterwards humming “Fundamental Little Things” and happily clutching a newly bought poster, it strikes me just how many songs the band managed to pack into a set not longer than an hour and a half. Performing a lot of their new songs, they also played a great deal of their most popular ones, such as “Jennifer” (‘Jennifer: why do you have to be so taciturn?’ being among my favourite lyrics of any song), “Joanna” and “One Night in October”. The band plays with only occasional pauses to thank the audience or to wait for the chants of “Yorkshire! Yorkshire! Yorkshire!” to die down.

“There is what can only be described as an incredible musicality to their sound.”

Any band that can overcome the stifling heat of Fibbers to play an impressive set deserves recognition, and by 9pm, the packed club was hot. Not to mention Robert Coles’ (brother to Micky) admirable ability to continue singing and playing guitar when flanked by two ‘lads’ who managed to jump onstage to have a brief moment of fame and presumably get their photo taken alongside the (extremely tolerant) singer. But it isn’t just their ability to perform in a somewhat unforgiving venue that marks Little Comets as a brilliant band. Clearly the trio have spent countless hours perfecting their performance and unity as a band, with practically seamless transitions from song to song. But there is what can only be described as an incredible musicality to their sound, an awareness of the music they perform and of each other as they sing in near-flawless harmony. This is particularly obvious in “B&B”, “A Little Opus” and “The Blur, the Line & the Thickest of Onions”, which make great use of all three voices and show the musicians behind Little Comets as hugely talented individuals.

Rushing offstage after their last song, the band reappear near the exit behind the merchandise stand. Cheerfully selling posters and shaking hands with fans, they come across as humble, down to earth people who are genuinely grateful to us for coming to watch them. I manage to exchange a few words with bassist Matt Hall and ask him how he rated the gig. He smiles and says ‘it was great.’

The pleasure was ours. Let’s hope it won’t be too long before Little Comets return to York.