Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Night Of Pencils

If a lead singer can play the entirety of a gig with glasses still attached to his face, something's not right. Case in point being Kingston-spawned Tubelord, who's singer Joe Prendergast just about makes it to the end of their first song before two straps of duct-tape are hastily slapped onto his temples. Some bands make the mistake of relying on having a frenzied on-stage frisson, in order to make a name for themselves. Tubelord thankfully believe in doing things right, and back their impressive live show up with equally impressive material.

One of the first songs in the set, the gloriously named Somewhere Out There A Dog Is On Fire, gets the gig off on the perfect footing with its high-paced and frantic guitar riffs being perfectly dissected with Prendergast's vocals. From this point on the set goes from strength to strength, treating the disappointingly small crowd to a performance as tight as Mr Motivator's spandex, with barely a note being missed by all three members. This is perhaps one of Tubelords best secrets: that underneath the madness there are three very talented musicians, who even on the last night of an exhaustive tour would still be able to show up most bands that share the stage with them.

The vigour and liveliness of the gig is relentless with Propeller - and absolutely superb - Night Of Pencils gaining most applause. The real testament to how well the band was received was illustrated by how the throng of people surrounding them grew as the gig continued, with those sitting out of sight of the stage moving closer in to see what all the fuss was about. Its a safe assumption to say that none of them were disappointed, and it will be interesting to see just how much the crowd will have grown for Tubelords eventual return to a Merseyside venue.

Friday, 27 November 2009

Quiet Little Voices

They follow all of the unwritten rules of how to put together an epic song. They end their album with the classic acoustic heart-felt closer, and a 4/4 structure is consistent throughout majority of their material. So, how is it that Edinburgh four-piece, We Were Promised Jetpacks, are still going to be one of your favourite new bands of 2009? It's a question that has many critics baffled, and even their signing to FatCat records was seen as a surprise to most.

The heart of We Were Promised Jetpacks genius (or Jetpacks, for short) lies in one of the most defining characteristics of their debut album, These Four Walls. Honesty. Yes, they do appear to fall into the fairly over-milked teat of a male-dominated indie band, but it feels as though this is a genre that the music wanted to categorize itself in, not the band members. The frank and astute lyrics match up perfectly to the band's powerful and dark music, giving their live performances an incredibly engaging and dominant feel. The highlight of the whole gig, however, was the vocal capabilities of lead singer Adam Thompson. Rarely can a singer have the ability to go from a yell that can fill a venue without the use of a microphone, to an awe-inspiring melodic tone, transforming the gig into a much more cherished experience.

The crowd leave the newly renovated and relocated Korova with a real sense that they have witnessed something special, safe in the knowledge that it is rare they will ever see a We Were Promised Jetpacks gig in such an intimate venue. This ability to leave such a strong in print on punters is the reason why the band are able to tour the most of Europe, and spend weeks in the US, but still know that they wont be forgotten about in their absence; a fate which many acts of the same ilk succumb to.
A band that should not be tarred with the same brush marked "wank indie-band", and deserve all the critical acclaim of any other live act currently laying waste to venues up and down the country.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Clench Fists, Grit Teeth... Go!

"Set Guitars To Kill"
"Tip of The Hat, Punch In The Face"
"These Riots Are Just The Beginning"

Belfast four-piece, And So I Watch You From Afar, set themselves a daunting task; to live up to some of the best song titles of the past decade, and to perform what some (myself included) are hailing as album of the year. Within moments of taking to the stage, however, it is clear to see this is a task which does not phase the band in the slightest, and treat 'The Masque' to surely one of its most impressive shows of year.

The energy and passion on display makes you wonder where the band get the super-human strength to stick to such a hectic tour schedule. Rory Friers (guitar) and Tony Wright (guitar) play with such enthusiasm, that the crowd cant help but be enthused themselves, and do their best to replicate the crowds which ASIWYFA have become accustomed to in Belfast. The antics of Tony and Rory are perfectly married up with the colossal bass and drums of Johnny Adger and Chris Wee, making a sound so loud, you could have been forgiven for thinking that they were playing to a crowd of thousands and not tens.

The crowd leave the venue with adrenaline-filled hearts and exhausted bodies, which tends to be the norm following an ASIWYFA gig. The unique quality of And So I Watch You From Afar is that, for a band comprising of only four members, they command the stage as though they were a thousand strong, with a prowess on stage which is rarely seen in a band so young in their career. It is this live experience which has promoted music-publications, such as NME, to really stand up and take note, and has seen the bands status rocket in the past twelve months. It seems a cliché these days to say that a band are must-see, but in this bands case, it most definitely is not.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Contact! Contact!

When it comes to a pre-gig sound check, most bands go for the conventional "One, Two" routine. Tellison, a pop-punk four-piece hailing from Hammersmith, decide to do things differently, and instead opt to sing the infuriatingly catchy theme tune from 90's British sitcom, 'Birds of a Feather'. This light-hearted nature of the band is one of their most endearing qualities, and proves a successful tactic for getting the crowd hooked into the gig. The first Tellison gig I went to personally was two years ago in the venue formally-known-as Barfly, and its a joy to see how much the band have progressed since.

They open their set with recently released single, Wasps Nest; a brilliant example of Tellison's capability to write the classic three-minute, pop-punk song which most bands of the same genre fall short of being able to do. However, although this style of song-structure is the bands real forte, they have the ability to be more diverse, with some of their new material having a slower-paced and more intimate feel to it. The variety in their material enables the band to appeal to everyone in the venue, which was proved to be true with the great applause that followed each song, with New York, New York, New York being a firm favourite. The best way to describe how the band play live is that the they just seem to want to enjoy themselves when on stage, regardless of crowd size, or how esteemed the venue is that they're playing in. An increasingly rare aspect to live music these days, with too many bands being more pre-occupied with image rather than putting on an entertaining show.

As well as being great musicians on stage, they are one of the most approachable bands off it, with lead singer Stephen Davidson urging the crowd to come up and speak to the band after the show, and gives up the rest of his night to talk to as many people as is possible. Tellison are a group who have progressed in leaps and bounds in the past two years, which promises great things for whats to come for them, (with their recent support slot for Biffy Clyro being a justification for the hype). Definitely a group who deserve their rapidly expanding fan-base, and a band that we'll be seeing a lot more of in the future.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

"She said its written in the stars, but I don't look at the stars anymore, I just want someone to die for".

With a lyric like that, you'd expect Brummie-based trio, Johnny Foreigner, to be some new spawn of the 'emo' music-genre. Thankfully, they are not. JoFo (as they are commonly referred to), have the capability to match morose, fairly depressing lyrics, to very up-beat, frantic indie music. On record, the band come off as enthusiastic, energetic musicians. The same, however, cannot really be said for their live performance.

Their recent gig in Liverpool's newly-renovated 'The Masque', failed to fully live up to the impression that is given by their only album release, Waited Up Til It Was Light. Alexei Berrow (lead vocals/guitar) at stages was almost failing to actually sing parts of their songs, and instead left it to a 25 to 30 strong crowd to shout out the rest which, rather embarrassingly, went down like a a bad joke in a Dundee men's social.

Their set list comprised of a mixture of old and new material, with the latter sounding much like the former, leaving a rather repetitive feeling from the gig itself. The bands saving grace, however, was the musicianship of drummer Junior Elvis Washington Laidley. Not only is he the proud owner of one of the most rediculously brilliant names in contempory music, but his ability to play drums, synths and keyboard all at the same time meant he was a real joy for the crowd to watch, and showed the passion which, at times, was missing from the other two members of the band.

The band finished the set by explaining that their past three gigs have been marred by technical cock-ups and band arguments, and all of this coupled with a hectic tour schedule could be a possible explanation for the lathargic nature of the band. On record, they are still great, just try and catch them at the start or end of a tour.