Picture & words : Joe Urquhart
Third time lucky; that’s what they say, right?
After trying (and failing twice) to catch HAUS in action throughout 2017, hearing about their latest UK tour was, quite literally, music to my ears. My first attempt at seeing the London based five piece came at the Y Not festival last summer – let’s not open that wound again – before November’s originally scheduled tour was put on the back burner until now.
So, at the third time of asking, I headed to the Brudenell Social Club in Leeds armed with tickets and a sheer determination to witness a band who are fast becoming one of my favourites. If, like me, you’re an indie nut then HAUS are a band that quite frankly you really should be listening to already: Think of early Foals, Bloc Party, Everything Everything and Friendly Fires. But – and I don’t say this lightly – think better.
Although comparisons are easy and similarities are obvious, much to HAUS’ credit they have managed to carve out an identity for themselves, from Ashley Mulimba’s vocals to Sam Kelly and Daniel Hylton-Nuamah’s jangly guitars. Throw in Ellis Mortimer’s bass and synth along with Lyle Simpson’s drum kit and you have something quite special.
HAUS’ uniqueness hasn’t been lost on their following as the 70-strong crowd who turned out in Leeds will tell you. Their sound, for me, has plugged a gap in the indie scene I didn’t even realise needed filling. Just five days before my trip to the Brude, as the locals call it, they had embarked on their Own Blood Tour which will see the band play 11 dates in 13 days across the UK before finishing off in Brighton.
These boys have grafted hard to get where they are today, doing so on the back of just one EP, Say What You Say, progress that speaks volumes for the quality they’ve produced. It’s rare to come across a band who sound as tight as the record itself, but with the help of Mulimba’s vocals they’re every bit as good live, as I soon discovered.
A quick scan around the room sees nods of approval from newcomers and for those who’re well and truly on the bandwagon this is just confirming what they knew all along.
I, if you haven’t guessed by now, am one of the latter.
A long way from home on a Monday evening it may have felt like a bit of a struggle as Kelly told me afterwards, yet their performance was anything but. Firing through their back catalogue, of which there are nine officially released tracks to date, Levels is a crowd pleaser along with newly released single Shameless which sees the band really come into its element. The standout moment of the evening though is by far and away Oblivion – and it leaves this onlooker yearning for more.
There was to be none of the expected rawness in which you associate with up and coming bands and HAUS come across as a group well beyond their years already in terms of live performance. As I headed through the exit doors I was left with a feeling of excitement, a sense that this lot are the real deal and that they’d just proven it.
This evening they were just thankful for having a crowd in ‘places like Leeds.’ The future looks bright for Mulimba and co. and I, like many others, predict a big 2018 ahead. For me, it really won’t be long before they’re brushing shoulders with indie’s elite.