Lake Komo @ Pendle Live

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Pendle Bar is packed. I mean, packed. With its busy-ness even gracing the headlines of Yik Yak, this is by far the biggest audience that I’ve ever seen attending the college’s Pendle Live event. Undoubtedly, this is due to tonight’s headliners: atmospheric electro-pop rockers Lake Komo are gracing the stage, perhaps the biggest act that Pendle has bagged in quite some time.

Well, I say Pendle; in actual fact, the band has been booked by LIAMS, and it seems the cross promotion between society and college is in part responsible for drawing the crowd. Even though Lancaster has a great history of live acts, with names as big as Queen and The Who having played at the university, that tradition has dissipated, and there’s a general consensus that people must be more interested in events as depressing as ‘DIRTYSHOTS AND DRUM&BASS’, which, judging from tonight’s turnout, just can’t be true.

First up are two support acts: Marco Tamimi, quite possibly the most accurate living embodiment of the ‘acoustic singer/songwriter’ genre (take from that comment what you will); and the exceptionally fun Evie Plumb along with her backing band that features fiddle, cajon and bass from politics lecturer Simon Mabon, playing crowd-pleasing covers.

After a few sound check issues, Lake Komo are on and kick off with the jolly – if a bit weak – ‘Thinktank’, bizarrely sounding a bit flat after Plumb and her band. But as the show goes on it’s quite clear that Lake Komo have structured their songs in order to gently lure the crowd in, to take them on an eclectic ride, even involving soulful autotune (though surely that is oxymoronic?).

The band are quite clearly a band; they’re tight and have a defined, unique sound, which is a hard find, especially with today’s saturated online music markets. In particular, it’s their harmonies that really set them apart, and lead singer Jay Nudd’s impressive vocal range (that his other band members turn to smile at mid-song, clearly impressed).

So far, so folky. Yet the set takes a drastic turn with two numbers that experiment, Bon Iver style, with interesting vocal effects. At the end of their latest single ‘Resurrect’, Jay sings through a distorted, vocoder-esque counter melody, facilitated by an impressive looking effects box sitting below him, showing off the group’s diverse influences. This is taken further in the next song, where Jay and keyboardist Jess play a soulful ballad, featuring harmonised autotune vocals that bear resemblance to Kanye West’s ‘Only One’; the only difference here being that Lake Komo’s track is actually good.

Ending on a high with a song about “having a blast in Tokyo”, Lake Komo leave with futile requests from the crowd for an encore. As well as bringing a fairly high profile, up-and-coming act to Lancaster, Pendle Live has also showcased the wide range of talents that the university itself has to offer.

Here’s hoping that this is the start of something big and exciting for the campus music scene.