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Review: Lake Komo at Oporto

15 February 2016
Review: Lake Komo at Oporto
Manchester band Lake Komo took to the Oporto stage on February 10th, enthralling the crowd with their well-crafted brand of melancholy pop.

The four fresh-faced twenty-somethings were incredibly well-rehearsed and looked like a proper unit. Though they were already five dates into a UK tour, they looked remarkably clean and played with lots of energy.

There was quietly audible chatter from the bar and audience when Lake Komo ambled onstage, but by the end of the second song the crowd had fallen completely silent. The reverence of the audience was highlighted by how when the song (titled ‘Figure It Out) finished, it took the singer’s thanks before the crowd broke out into applause.

The venue was perfect for Lake Komo. Oporto is quite an intimate place, and the red and orange mood lighting served to give the brooding songs a little more atmosphere. For a mid-week gig at a bar on a side-street in Leeds, the band drew a decent crowd.

Lake Komo at Oporto - Article 1

The set the band played was dynamic, shifting from sparse baroque-pop on ‘Thinktank’ similar to Bon Iver, to rousing psych-folk on their last song, ‘Resurrect’. On their song ‘Little Birth’, they even threw in some energetic ‘woo-hoo’s.

One of the best aspects about Lake Komo is the harmonies between guitarist/singer Jay and keyboardist Jess. They provided an atmospheric element to some songs which might have been found lacking without them. In their better moments, Lake Komo sounded a little bit like Groove Armada’s ‘Goodbye Country, Hello Nightclub’, or Coldplay’s ‘A Rush Of Blood To The Head’. In their poorer moments they could sound bland and insubstantial.

One interesting part of Lake Komo’s set was the occasional auto-tune put on the singer’s voice. Often this can sound obtrusive, but it’s a bold move for a band to utilise this effect live and it added something different to the sound, which was welcome.

Lake Komo were let down by the singer’s slightly affected American accent, and when he started singing about being born on the fourth of July this was thrown into sharper resolution.

Aside from this small negative, Lake Komo have a bright future ahead of them and possess the songs and songwriting abilities to grow and build on. For a young band, they have a very mature sound that has obviously been honed and polished. What was lacking was a little bit of fire, a spark – something - that might differentiate them from other bands.

This may not be music that will inspire a generation and change the sonic landscape, but did I enjoy listening to them at Oporto? Yes.

Will is a Volunteer Writer for Leeds Living, specialising in music writing. He attends gigs and festivals all across the city of Leeds
Photography provided by Mark Wheelwright