At the start of the year The Leisure Society were pretty much unknown. A few months later an Ivor Novello nomination for single ‘The Last of the Melting Snow’ brought them to the nation’s attention and since then they’ve gone from strength to strength, with plenty of touring, festival appearances, and now appearances in top albums of the year lists. It therefore seemed very fitting for them to be playing a celebratory gig to a highly receptive sold out crowd to end the year.
There’s always a danger when bands grow in popularity too quickly that they won’t have enough material to fulfil what is expected of them in the live environment. No such worries with The Leisure Society – the 80 or so minute set consisted of the majority of fantastic debut album ‘The Sleeper’, as well as a selection of new tracks and covers. No falling back on obscure or second rate tracks to pad out the set. The new material sounded very promising indeed, and I can’t imagine it will take the band long to get cracking on a follow up album with songs that strong lined up already. The set included their cover of Gary Numan’s ‘Cars’, which they really make their own, and their superb version of The Beatles’ ‘Something’, which they recorded earlier this year for a Mojo magazine cover CD.
Being a ‘special’ gig, the band had even more friends than usual helping out and guesting throughout the set, joining the already large group of core songwriters Nick Hemming and Christian Hardy, and the 5 or so other regular members. Being part of the ‘Willkommen Collective’, there is no shortage of musicians to get involved, including members of Sons of Noel and Adrian, and the four piece ‘Willkommen Choir’ on backing vocals. They were also joined by a pedal steel player for most of the set, and the main set ended with the customary ‘A Matter Of Time’ featuring an army of ukelele players, including a member of the audience who had brought theirs to join in.
The gig lived up to the occasion, and the band seemed quite overwhelmed and emotional by the size and enthusiasm of the crowd, as well as the beautiful surroundings of St Giles. I can only look forward to what the band bring us in 2010.