April 23, 2024

Daemonik Fonce – Live in Leeds 2023 – “an a cappella tale of the first post-war banana”

Live at Brudenell Social Club, Leeds 25th May 2023

Supporting the incendiary Jim Jones is a good gig. The audience are receptive to anything loud and beaty, which is what Daemonik Fonce do. Their lyrics are important and the Brudenell’s sound desk does them well, allowing their bonkers lyrics to be heard; from the opening ‘Badgers + Ferrets’ (yes, actually about the fighty woodland beasts) through the daftness of ‘My Father’s Banana’ (an a cappella tale of the first post-war banana in the guitar player’s dad’s town to the silliness of ‘Animal Magic’.

Energetic and hard working, the band are competent but never fully inspiring. The bass player is having a good time and poses wildly, always in motion. The guitar player grins and focusses. The lead vocalist gesticulates but somehow it doesn’t catch fire and I have the sense of each band member being in their own world. Perhaps it’s stagecraft, perhaps a misperception, but there isn’t much interaction on show. They do a good job of turning up the volume on the album cuts but Mr Fussy here is looking for a little more.

Playing with genre, there is variety and ‘My Baby’s The Right Side Of Rough’ tips a nod to the Shangri-las, while ‘Electric Mountain’ sounds like Hawkwind when it starts and ‘Animal Magic’ shows the band’s age in referencing ‘The Funky Gibbon’ from the seventies (growing up with that as my nickname, it never lost a place in my mind). ‘Rollin’ On’ has a country twang but a wink in its eye. I’ve just revealed my age so it might be no surprise that a highlight for me was the Damien O’Neill guitar solos in ‘Gamechanger’, ‘Animal Magic’ and elsewhere. Simple, tasty and well-defined, it’s a guitar sound I’ve appreciated as unfussy, clever pop embellishment since I first heard The Undertones.

Featuring members of Ten Benson, The Rumblestrips and Tits Of Death, the band isn’t lacking experience and have a lot of palettes to draw from but I can’t help but feel that a bit more stage time together will give that whole-band energy that wins audiences over more than song-craft and clever lyrics.

Ross McGibbon

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