All Years Leaving 2017 review

Kristian Birch-Hurst headed to Birmingham to witness the finest in contemporary indie doing their thing.

Henry Lewis

Last updated: 26th Oct 2017.
Originally published: 24th Oct 2017

Image: All Years Leaving (credit)

Curated by the This Is Tmrw team - a long running innovative platform of exciting, and new, leftfield sounds - 2017’s All Years Leaving festival laid down a bold showcase of post-punk panache, infectious indie sentiment, waning spells of shoe-gaze and so much more; a delectable sonic buffet spanning the alternative music spectrum.

Long standing pub-turned-gig-space Hare & Hounds played host to the two day affair. An apt venue which continues to uphold the DIY spirit of a bygone rock/grunge era. The space has garnered a significant reputation over the years, in the West Midlands area and beyond, boasting weekly line-ups of experimental DJ sets, and diverse live performances, while also fervently supporting the local music scene.

Opening up the arched wooden gate, that sits alongside to the main pub gaff, two gig spaces are revealed. The first, a ground-level courtyard dubbed the ‘Stables’ provided a chilled acoustic style set up, complete with make-shift stage; adorned with some choice rugs, drapes and dim lighting, a cosy living room aesthetic was effortlessly crafted.

The entrance to the main room sat atop a tight metal stairwell, illuminated by hanging orbs of light. Heading through the double doors, gig-goers are immediately indulged with a stripped back, rock-club atmosphere. The walls and ceiling coated in a thick black paint, while a solitary disco ball hangs from above. The room is narrow with no real discernible barrier between the crowd and stage - the epitome of intimate. 

Across the two days over a dozen bands graced the celebrated venue, each bringing unique displays of sound, style, and stage presence. 

The Wytches ripped through the main room, frenzying the crowd with a coarse blend of haunting guitar riffs and angst-tainted howls. Heavy, purposeful drum work and deep bass guitar completed the set up, their menacing brand of punk-infused psychedelic rock served directly into the face of every onlooker.

Proudly flying the post-punk revivalist flag, TRAAMS made something of an impact. No time was wasted in ensuring authority of the room, beckoning a wilful crowd forward before unleashing a meandering performance of progressive build ups and break downs. The guitar creating distorted, yet hypnotic soundscapes, neatly kept in check by the dual prominence of the bass line and meticulous drum work. Lo-fi vocals echoing over the mix to provide an added raw edge. 

Priests, a female fronted 4-piece, wielded serious punk attitude and a commanding stage presence. The shouted-spoken lyrics, both provocative and politically charged, embodying the very essence of punk-era past. Supported with frenetic outbursts of guitars and drums, a stand out show was assured. 

Nods need also go out to the The Orielles, drawing quite the following with their catchy slacker-rock vibes, and Sunshine Frisbee Laserbeam, a brum-local party quartet, whose name plays suitable parallel to their schizophrenic, high-energy indie pop sound. 

The open-plan nature of the venue constantly blurred the boundary between punters and performers, with bands freely moving throughout the space, interacting with those who’d made the effort to support them; down to earth and devoid of any egotism.  

King’s Heath, and it’s esteemed focal point The Hare & Hounds, continues to back its reputation as a hot-bed of music eclecticism, a cultural staple in the Birmingham city landscape. Capitalising on the latter notion, This Is Tmrw administered a diverse, forward-thinking line up within the alternative music sphere, appropriately pandering to the areas character, prevailing demographic, and leftfield agenda.