035 Enhanced NR

LIVE: The Umbrellas – Wharf Chambers, Leeds, 08/03/2024

Emerging some five years ago out of the thriving DIY scene that exists around San Francisco’s famous Amoeba Music – the world’s largest independent record store – The Umbrellas forged their sound in an amalgam of C86, Scottish jangle, and punk, plus some elements of the neo-classical composer Arvo Pärt.

Tonight they bring their sparkling brand of indie-pop all the way from the Golden Coast of California to the austere ground floor of a Victorian building on the edge of Leeds city centre that once saw life as a pork pie factory and is now run as a delightfully inclusive, multi-purpose venue by a workers’ co-op in partnership with a members’ club. 

The quartet of Matt Ferrara (guitar, vocals), Morgan Stanley (guitar, vocals), Nick Oka (bass) and Keith Frerichs (drums) are here in the UK in support of their second album, Fairweather Friend, which was released just a few weeks back. Speaking in a recent interview about the recording of the new album The Umbrellas had suggested they wanted to “play fast and loud” on it and thus shed an image of their being “a sugary pop-laden band.”  

019 Enhanced NR
The Umbrellas

Listening to Fairweather Friend, The Umbrellas have certainly achieved those objectives and once the songs are moved into a live setting they become even more robust, even more vigorous. They start this evening’s set with Fairweather Friend’s opening track, ‘Three Cheers!’ With its avalanche of chiming guitars, harmony vocals, hard-driving rhythm, and all-round thunderous vibe it lays down a great marker for all that follows. 

We get 13 songs in total, eight from Fairweather Friend, three from the band’s self-titled 2021 debut album, and a coruscating final blast of first ‘I’ll Never Understand’ and then ‘Write In The Sky’ – both feature on The Umbrellas’ 7” single from 2022 – and all of which serve to reinforce the tremendous recent strides the band have taken, not only in their growing creative confidence but also the increased power with which they now deliver these songs in concert.

Photos: Simon Godley

More photos of The Umbrellas at Wharf Chambers in Leeds

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.