Last week was Tribes first ever headline show in Nottingham and the beginning of their first headline tour of the UK, followed by Europe and the States. Impact’s Katherine Rolle was there to witness what will surely be a band destined for stardom in the near future.
Despite some questionable local support bands, by the time they took to the stage Stealth was packed out and a noticeable part of the crowd were obvious fans. For a band that has yet to release a debut or play Nottingham in their own right, that’s impressive. Having just completed a “house party” tour, gigging in fans’ houses and gardens, they’re obviously a group that has no worries crossing the band/fan divide and began proceedings cheerfully chatting to the crowd, offering autographs and hailing buddies Dog Is Dead, who were watching from the back.
Showcasing tracks from their forthcoming debut album (‘Baby’, out 23 January), they mostly demonstrated hook-laden rock, reminiscent of later Clash albums, with snatches of 90s garage rock guitar. Although it’s not exactly groundbreaking, it is in fact a surprisingly hard sound to define; Tribes seem to be experimenting with a lot of different influences, a range of interests held together by big choruses and catchy chord progressions. Though firmly in the indie-rock genre, they’re undeniably carving their own groove in the giant LP in the sky. The scuzzier, more garage sounds were perfect in a dry ice-laced Stealth, and the crowd got the chance to jump around a bit, though it clearly wasn’t quite as frenetic as the band wanted, as they urged fans to get on each other shoulders and get involved.
With a visible gang sensibility (in the best possible way) and matching all-black attire, as well as their straight-outta-Camden past and quietly intense front man Johnny, they made a very rock n’ roll onstage spectacle, though they undermined it slightly by messing around with classic rock stances and getting stage-service beers delivered by their roadies.
The set was dominated early on by immense first single, Sappho, with its crashing guitars and horribly horribly catchy riff. Similarly, We Were Children is a sure-fire future festival singalong and, judging by its reception, is certain to be being belted out by the field-full in the near future. Other highlights were Not Pretty (all sighs and screeching guitars) and, demonstrating their skills away from the electrics, the acoustic ballad for Ou Est Le Swimming Pool’s Charles Haddon, ‘Nightdriving’. Coming soon to a festival/fan’s flat/stadium near you, Tribes are certainly ones to watch, catch them in a little venue soon whilst you still can.