Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Adventures in Wonderland. Real Adventures.

Real Adventures*****
The MacBeth
Monday 22nd August

Cracking venue. Huge array of long-throw horn speakers dominating the rig. A fair smattering of hipsters and tattooed trendies. Cider.

Let's get the obvious thing out of the way first. Yes, they've got a wee bloke on the guitar. A really wee bloke. With tattoos. And he plays the guitar with his hand over the top of the neck. Unusual? Yup. A gimmick? Definitely not. Leigh Gill is a top player with incredible chop and his tight playing is made all the more remarkable by his unorthodox method.

So, that all done, let's get on to the show.

The guys filled the stage, so much so that singer Lewis Reynolds was edged on the venue's floor to deliver his bear-like gritty guttural growls. The band kicked off into their first number and the first thing to hit the crowd was the huge volume. Those bins certainly were hurling out the dirty decbels. It was like being in a broom cupboard with a Tornado fighter Jet testing its afterburners. No stranger to very loud music (I've got the PSH to prove it), I've got to say it was one of the loudest gigs I've been to in many a moon. Sadly though, the sound wasn't great. It was quite flabby, bottomy and muddy. Particularly on Reynolds' vox.

That said, the playing and energy was fantastic. Despite some tuning probs (thankfully between songs and not during them) Dom Roe owned the stage. Crisp, technical playing delivered with bravado and verve. And with a bloody great smile on his face throughout (apart from when he was coaxing his errant d string back into tune). A stand-in drummer for the crocked James Gallagher fired out the dynamic rhythms beautifully backed by Mitch Gee's thumping bass.

There are obvious comparisons to be made withFour Year Strong, Such Gold and even traces of Glassjaw and Anti-Flag, but this lot have a sound all of their own. Self-dubbed pop punk does little to adequately describe their noise. Yup, broadly speaking, it ticks the boxes; but there's more depth, more technical ability and musicianship and more balls-out rock and roll than normally associated with the oft thin, veneered whiny genre.

Dom and Mitch won the eat the mic competition
The set continued apace with numbers like Nobody Calls Me Frigid and the radio-friendly catchy Do You Ever Wish You Could Breathe Underwater? There was even a new one thrown in which if it's typical of future output, then it signals we're all in for some more treats.

As already mentioned, the sound was harsh on the vocals. Reynolds' delivery needs more dynamic sound as it's quite a low-end growl with little light and shade. Think a Honda Fireblade with a knackered silencer. Frank (ex) of the Gallows or Liam Cormier of Cancer Bats fame he certainly ain't.

Nonetheless, he delivered his barks with lashings of energy and spirit despite the muddiness. Couldn't really discern many of the fine lyrics though.

The boys finished with a rousing and raw, arse-fisting rendition of the anthemic whinge about the shitty state of the hardcore/pop punk scene If This Is Living, You're better of Dead which was the triumph of the night.

The crowd lapped it up as hopefully many more crowds will do in the future. Cracking stuff. Shame about the vocals. But cracking stuff generally.

Deftones, Pulled Apart By Horses and the incredible Animals As Leaders up next.

More tunes soon. Bwoooar!

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