Eagulls, Cheetahs at the Larimer Lounge, 6-7-14 (photos, review)By Mike Long | June 9th, 2014 | 3 comments
Go to enough shows and you’ll see all sorts of crazy things. Eagulls frontman/shout-singer George Mitchell abruptly walked off the Larimer Lounge stage after only a few songs on Saturday night, cutting short what already appeared to be a superb headlining set.
The evening started off well enough. Opening act Cheatahs, a U.K.-based multinational act led by Canadian Nathan Hewitt, came out and all but destroyed the place. Touring in support of the band’s first full-
length February release, the band, already known for exceptional live shows, quickly exceeded even those expectations.
The four musicians created wonderful, multi-textured atmospherics virtually throughout; a tight, hard rocking, hard-hitting, brilliant, exquisitely noisy performance.
Leeds, England’s Eagulls, riding a wave of buzz from the U.K. press, this year’s SXSW and last year’s CMJ in New York, took the stage a bit after 11 p.m. The eager, crowded (but not close to sold-out) Larimer audience was ready.
Any notion that Eagulls couldn’t follow Cheatahs’ set would have been quickly forgotten, had they kept up the blistering pace of those first few songs. Except, they couldn’t because of a petulant Mitchell. He complained about issues from his vocal effects box, but if there actually were any sound problems no one else heard them.
Dissatisfied, he walked offstage.
The remaining four members returned and began playing without their distinctive vocalist. Denverite Chris Sample quickly filled in as a guest vocalist for a few songs, performing quite credibly. After the show, Sample told me he was making up lyrics as he went. Somebody sign this guy up!
Bassist Tom Kelly assumed singing duties and the band – drummer Henry Ruddell (a force of nature!) along with guitarists, Mark Goldsworthy and Liam Matthews – pulled off an impressive performance, given the circumstances. Absent Mitchell, already known for his stage antics, it just made it all that easier to appreciate the band’s chops. All in all, quite a night of entertainment, musically and otherwise.
Referring to Mitchell’s disappearing act, Kelly told me after the show, “He made us look like dicks.” People reported seeing a crushed Mitchell, all but sobbing, clutching a bottle of wine, long after the show.
Other acts of late (Wavves and Foxygen) have had onstage WTF moments or meltdowns and moved on. Eagulls’ 2014 debut album is packed with a ton of potential. Here’s hoping this was just a bump in the road.
Mike Long is a Longmont-based writer and comedian and a regular contributor to Reverb.