On a chilly Valentines evening, Oporto, mid-refurbishment, seemed a rather slap-dashed venue for a Valentine’s gig. With its temporary, questionably stable walls, and its slightly chaotic appearance, it certainly provided an alternative romantic vibe to the status quo. Upon arrival, we’re greeted by someone dressed as a slightly creepy yet hilarious cupid – clearly exactly how cupid would be in real life – handing out homemade ‘yes’ and ‘no’ signs to apparently assist with romantic desires. There was no doubt that this was going to be an interesting and unique Valentine’s evening.
The night was brought to us by Emily Pilbeam, local music and media extraordinaire. As well as working with BBC Introducing, Radio 1, 1XTRA and Radio 6, Pilbeam is the creator of her own series of gigs, Pilbeam’s Noise Nights, held at Oporto, showcasing local artists. This one-off special sees her Noise Nights jump from their usual Sunday slot to this mid-week Wednesday night.
First on the line up was new-wave, post-punk, electronic solo artist La Rissa. Her dark, spooky melodies brought an intriguing, almost Halloween-esque vibe to the start of the evening. The mixture of her sheer vocals and heavy beats made for a fascinating, intoxicating sound, and her mastery over the performance of her art on stage only amplified it. Her set would have perhaps suited a later time, what with her dark, electronic style, but she was nevertheless a formidable act to open the night.
Next up were north Yorkshire based The Howl & The Hum, who are difficult to put into a specific genre. My first thought was indie, but their dark hypnotic lyrics and melodies reveal something of a lot more depth and complexity, and their performance, especially that of lead singer Sam Griffiths, was as energetic as a pop group. Their sincere, beautiful lyricism made for an intimate and meaningful set, and delivered a more raw and vulnerable romantic sentiment to the exposed, delicate venue.
Last we had headliners Team Picture, the six-piece, sailor-suit-wearing, indie-rock band from Leeds. After the dark, haunting melodies from La Rissa and the sincere, vulnerable lyrics of The Howl’s And The Hum, Team Picture came in with great quality, intelligent song writing, and great music for a good boogie. The perfect headliner for an overall well-rounded Valentine’s gig.