After their impressive set at the Marlborough Rising Talent event that we reported last September, marlborough.news followed up-and-coming indie rock band, Kaleido Bay, to Swindon – their home town – for their first headline gig last week (January 4) at the popular music venue The Victoria – known to all as ‘The Vic’.
Harry Grace (17), Ben Kay (17) and Jake Gribben (18), who play bass guitar, lead vocals/electric guitar and drums respectively, form the trio.
Throughout 2018 they played a number of gigs in and around the area, including The Fleece in Bristol and the Lechlade Festival, and have more shows planned for this year. They will be at The Bear in Marlborough in June.
While they are influenced by groups such as The Wombats, Interpol, Catfish and the Bottlemen, Kaleido Bay’s songs are distinctive for balancing their profound lyrics with their fast paced and catchy music. Their debut single, Nothing More, is currently on Spotify and the band say it will shortly be followed by more tracks.
The gig kicked off with Break Me for The Better, a punchy introduction which was characterized by powerful guitar riffs and formidable drums. This was swiftly followed by Arctic Monkeys’ Don’t Sit Down ‘Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair to the delight of the mosh pit.
Dissenter – a darker, more sombre track, which told the story of a man who had lost his faith, accompanied by soaring vocals and a razor-sharp guitar solo – was a clear audience favourite.
Other highlights included their high-energy cover of Slaves’ The Hunter, and one of their newest songs, Liberation, which sent the crowd wild. “Jake likes this one because he gets to hit the drums very hard”, Ben tells the room.
I managed to grab 20 minutes with the band before the gig. While they are not planning on a full album just yet, they told me they hope to release a few more singles on Spotify and build up to an EP – on January 20 they are recording Break Me for The Better.
I asked them whether their ultimate goal is fame and fortune: “Not the money, but just playing to lots of people, making a career out of it,” Jake answered. “Enough money to live, but not enough to be insanely rich – even if we were not making that much money but touring all the time.”
They’ve made a solid start, with seven original songs completed. What is their song writing process? Jake: “We usually start with just a guitar riff and then build a song from that. Ben does the lyrics. The original Nothing More had me playing the keyboard with one hand. It was awful.”
Ben: “We don’t know how bands can write four original songs like…done. Ours take a long time but we’re really happy with them so it pays off in the end.”
I asked them whether they had a particular theme in mind when first writing their originals. Ben: “All of our lyrical themes are quite… dark. They’re dark and they’re sad – most of them.”
“One’s about the friendzone, but we have written a song about God,” he says, referring to Dissent. “You start being a believer, but you have so many bad things that happen to you that you lose your faith, and you dissent from God. It hasn’t happened to me personally or any of us, it’s just an interesting theme we’d like to explore.”
When I asked them what their inspiration was to start playing instruments and form a band in the first place, the responses were very varied. Ben answered immediately: “My inspiration was Muse. I became obsessed with Muse, and I still am.”
Jake: “I remember sitting on the school bus, and [Ben] said “let’s start a band”, and I said “no”. And then he wore me down and then we did.”
Harry: “I wanted to be like Bernard Butler from Suede. Now I want to be like Carlos Dengler from Interpol. Those basslines on Turn on The Bright Lights… Beautiful. They’re like water. It flows.”
The Vic marks their seventeenth gig since the start of 2018 – what have been their favourite gigs so far? “The ones with the best crowds,” Harry says decisively. Ben: “We’ve found out that we can have a good stage, great sound… but if the crowd is just sat down…We prefer to have people moving… we like the energy.”
The energy and participation from the crowd that the band produced was one of the things that made The Vic such an incredible gig, together with the band’s clear enjoyment of music and performing.
Kaleido Bay will be playing at The Face Bar in Reading on January 18.
The 2019 Marlborough Rising will run from Friday, 9 to Sunday, 11 August. marlborough.news will be reporting on the preparations for this year’s event.