Originally hailing from the Los Angeles city of Fullerton, CA, garage rock band The Cosmonauts have been touring Europe and the UK for the last month, and finished off their (official) trip at The Lending Room for their first ever show in Leeds. The venue itself, just upstairs from the main bar known as The Library, was strung with dim fairy lights and buzzing with energy from the few people milling about in between sets, whilst DJ Gary Krishna played various nostalgic music – Queens of the Stone Age and Iggy Pop to name a few.

The four-piece’s set began with various songs from their earlier album, ‘If You Wanna Die Then I Wanna Die’, which draws on a more progressive style of rock, and a more mature take on the garage punk vibe with influences from the surf punk scene that was prolific throughout Southern California from the original release. They open with ‘Two Dollars and Fifty Cents’ and ‘Motorcycle One’ before playing a slew from the A-side of their most recent release, ‘A-OK!’, featuring cleaner vocals and a rougher sound, but still interlaced with the fun, swinging style from their earlier songs.

‘Party at Sunday’ drew the crowd, who had been standing at a distance from the stage for all of the opening acts, further towards the band. Guitarist Alexander Ahmadi and bassist James Sanderson swayed in tandem to the more psychedelic and rhythmic sound, and various members of the audience spun each other around to the relatively slower song, before ‘What Me Worry’ speeds up the tempo. The audience, now more comfortable with each other and the space around them, began to dance in the classic garage punk style, heads hung low, feet moving erratically.

The set finished off with the more recent release ‘Heavenspeak’, another tune from ‘A-OK!’ that features a defining baseline and rough vocals growling: “When you touch me, baby, heavenspeak”. They continue onto ‘Emerald Green’ to close the set out with all the reverb of an underground surf punk show that takes you back home to Southern California in no way anything else can.

After the set, James and drummer Mark Marones tell us about the various experiences from the past tour, especially the differences in the scenes in different European countries. Belgium and Germany were favourites, especially how friendly and diverse the crowds could be; anyone and everyone from any country surrounding and more somehow showed up to support. It goes to show how international a band can become with a scene such as this one.

All photos by Francesca Tirpak. 

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