Do you think that when Camden’s coolest rock ‘n’ roll outfit called themselves Tribes that they had a feeling they’d attract their very own, bona fide tribe? Because, that’s the only way you can describe the sweat soaked crowd at the O2 Academy. They’re a following. A community. And they manage to pack out the relatively pokey venue with ease. However, this impressive fan base is no real shock. Released in January of this year, the band’s debut album Baby is a master class in how to revive timeless rock ‘n’ roll and it’s the sort of classic-sounding music that almost summons respect and admiration. It’s a tried and tested genre but with a modern twist and it’s this that cemented Baby as a firm favourite for album of 2012 from day one.
Before Tribes take to the stage, one of the supports in particular, Sharks from Royal Leamington Spa, catch the attention of the crowd. They get us all excited for the set to come with their very own brand of hefty yet slightly poppy punk rock and they’re instantly memorable riffs single them out as ones to watch. They’re definitely worth a listen if you’re into something with a bit of substance.
Sharks finish their slot and eventually, Tribes stride out onto the tiny stage. The sight of the beaded waist coast clad Johnny Lloyd triggers the expected screams and shouts and it’s not long before ‘Whenever’ opens up the set, just as it does Baby. The band does the track justice live – it sounds perfect. The emotional tornado that is ‘Corner of an English field’ sounds incredible too and even though the fans are howling and screaming, the powerful melody rises above the noise and sounds almost monumental.
Tribes treat us to some EP tracks, showcasing ‘Face to Face’ and ‘Not so Pretty’. ‘Face to Face’ is slower and eerily dark whereas ‘Not so Pretty’ is a heavy, scream-along-at-the-tops-of-your-lungs-and-dance-like-you’re-possessed number. Johnny dedicates album closer ‘Bad Apple’ to the circle of hyperactive, violent lads in the middle of the floor and they roar like wild animals at the fleeting acknowledgement. However, it’s ‘When My Day Comes’ and ‘We Were Children’ that get properly astounding reactions. Both of the tracks are massive guitar tunes, yet they’re completely different and it’s this ability to be versatile whilst delivering consistently moving songs that sets Tribes apart from other bands.
‘Himalaya’, a soul-wrenching brute of a song, is my personal highlight. It’s ten times bigger than the venue it’s confined to and the lyrics sound surprisingly amazing when shrieked by an overly excited herd of perspiring Tribes fans. Finally, it’s time for the encore and the band perform ‘Coming of Age’; a beautiful, musical picture of what it’s like to, well… come of age.
They’re good Tribes. They’re really good. They’re not flouncy or overly romantic and so if you want a no faff, proper beat then they’re for you. Tribes make real music that cuts out the messing about and gets straight to the point. And if you’re measuring how good they are against the calibre of Johnny’ brilliant stage outfit, then they’d easily get 10/10.
Discover Sharks: Myspace
By Elizabeth Coop
Dance Yrself Clean