Leeds Student – Polytechnic 22/10/1981


By Fran Stary

Thursday night in Leeds highlight of the week and one of the best for a long time with the city’s two most entertaining bands of the moment, Really and Girls At Our Best. Okay so you weren’t there, a fact that the pitiful size of the audience at the Poly made only too obvious Well, kick yourself later if you want to know what you missed, read on.

© 1981 Tracy Moir

First Really! As one of my favourite bands, I can never fail to do anything but enthuse about them and have never left one of their gigs feeling anything but exuberantly happy. Still – this time I was dismayed to walk in at the beginning of their set and find them lost in one of the most dank soulless places to be found on the face of Leeds, playing to an audience of no more than thirty, who seemed to be most concerned with their status as tree imitators.

By the end of their set, however, Really had even moved some of them to (could it be?) action, although this seemed to piece an unhealthy stress on even their resources, with Marion’s voice occasionally sounding stretched and the band seeming at times to lose interest in the struggle.

In the end though the perseverance seemed worth it and Really produced not only their usual excellent set of warm reggae influenced music but also an impressive string of new songs. Rhythms are tighter and zippier and bound more closely and yet more subtly into their inimitable sound. Really are original and ultimately danceable; they have an appeal for everyone without falling into the trap of indie blandness. If you missed them this time be there the next.

The main band Girls At Our Best! have had a great deal of mystique built around them. Why do they rarely appear live? Why do they scarcely ever venture outside their local area of Leeds? The answer is simply that before committing themselves to live performances and on the evidence of this performance their long periods of preparation have payed off; they produced a set which ranged from powerful, lively and (most important) inventive punk, through to some of the most original and catchy pop songs around, with Judy’s lead vocals soaring breath-takingly over an energetic and exhilarating backing.

To inspire Thursday night’s audience to exchange their stony posturings for as much as the slightest shuffle of the feet, however. was no small task and it was some time before G.A.O.B.‘s invigorating beat coupled with Jo’s sarcastic Jibes began to take effect, and gradually ripples of sporadic enjoyment began to creep their way through the hall. Still, at the end of the set, the band were received with the ecstatic acclaim they deserved. Reserve was finally overcome and an encore fervently demanded.

Well after that, what could you do but go and see the Au Pairs at the Warehouse.