Tribes – London’s most popular new band?  live review

London Dingwalls
June 2011

Tribes Myspace

Sometimes you walk into a gig and it’s like a secret society.

A band you have heard mumblings of and it’s packed full.

Dingwalls is like this tonight for Tribes. A room rammed with fresh faced youth, many of them looking too fresh faced to be the normal gig crowd, this is a party crowd just to the edge of the live music fiends. There’s a lot of girls here as well which is unusual for a gig clamouring with hormonal excitement in a room full of well scrubbed, post term students looking for good times and catchy songs.

And an atmosphere of expectation. It can’t be the friends of the band syndrome, no one has this many friends. There must be something happening here.

Tribes have been compared to Nirvana but nothing could be further from the mark. They are a tight, crisp pop rock band with a dark twist who handle several different styles but but have non of the grunge and detritus of Nirvana and their own kind of intensity that even at a similar stage in their career Nirvana were displaying.

That’s not their problem. They have their own thing here. It’s far more English for a start and they seem more lodged in that post Libertines world of London bedsit excess with that scruffy mish mashed look and flick knife guitars of the iPod generation – a generation where everything can be heard and where everything is for grabs. It’s that multiple influence without sounding like anyone, even yourself, that Tribes somehow manage. They can casually flick from Trex to the poppy end of punk like Generaion X to stadium in one song. They are the sound of all the pop culture tribes rolled into one band – making their name super apt. They do it well and the packed venue is jumping around in love with the band, singing along to their catchy songs.

Originally from the Midlands and now living at a thousand miles an hour in Camden the band ooze a scruffy cool and a command of hooks, Tribes know how to make a song work and they have that wonderful youthful rush of the moment about them.

They have the confidence and the casual ability to connect, they just need the music press to fall in love with them and maybe their own flavour to stand out from the crowd. Their songs are already working for them and no-one sells out Dingwalls at this stage unless they have a story to tell and no-one reaches this audience of clean cut student youth unless something is seriously going on.

And Tribes are seriously going on.

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Award winning journalist and boss of Louder Than War. In a 30 year music writing career, John was the first to write about bands such as Stone Roses and Nirvana and has several best selling music books to his name. He constantly tours the world with Goldblade and the Membranes playing gigs or doing spoken word and speaking at music conferences.


  1. […] We\’re a little late off the mark with Tribes\’ debut album review,(but not with a live review, we were on the first to review them last June) but Tribes are a little late on the 90s grunge bandwagon, so it\’s only fitting. Tribes: […]

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