A review from a gig I went to last night, my first attempt at writing a live review, so nothing of the standard of Omni, but I don't think it's too bad.
Rock Quest – Heat 2 – Merrie England Bar – North Pier
I arrived at The Merrie England bar about 10 minutes before the first band was due on, purchased a reassuringly expensive bottle of red wine, and sat down and prepared myself for an evening of rock.
The first band to take to the stage were Preston’s Titus Stacks, who sadly lacked energy and audience interaction, but made up for it with the quality of songs and tightness. With a sound similar to Maroon 5, the songs were melodic and catchy, however bordered on predictable at times. Throughout their set I was wondering when the guest musician was going to take to the stage as they were all stood on one side leaving the stage look unbalanced. There was no audience interaction at all, giving the impression that they were just trying to fit in as many songs as they could in their given slot, which resulted in an air of arrogance and left members of the audience bored by the 6th song.
After such a stale performance, The Streetlight were a breath of fresh air, with effective use of musical layers and dynamics, they hit the stage full throttle with a relentless barrage of songs that were exciting and entertaining. The movement on stage was kinetic and furious, with front man Jak constantly moving and jumping about, resulting in a very entertaining performance. The only problem hindering their performance was Jak’s amplifier feeding back between songs. The band have a diverse sound which spans genres such as new wave, ska, indie and punk, and deliver it with energy and feeling making them a very strong band indeed.
Next up were The Corsairs, an indie rock band with a very polished sound, with a set consisting of quite commercial music, but with a raw edge to it. Their sound is similar to that of The Coral, with jangly chords and melodies reminiscent of English summer holidays on the beach. For the third song, guitarist Spud took over lead vocal duties from Swede, whilst Swede picked up an acoustic guitar, which however didn’t seem to cut through and went unheard. The Corsairs were the first band to incite people to dance with a Reverend and The Makers cover, however this was late on in the set and they could have possibly benefited from dancers early on. They are however a strong band with music to make you smile.
The penultimate band Blackwater are a hard rock band in a similar style to Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, with heavy riffs, the first song featured a slap bass solo, which seemed almost forced in and didn’t do anything for the overall sound. Audience interaction was back at a minimum, with the front man only announcing the name of the next song. Blackwater don’t seem to have a particular style, with the sound merging from rock and roll, to grunge, to heavy metal, which I feel could have held them back from faring better in the competition.
The final act to take to the stage were The Sound of Superstring, who with years of collective experience in bands know how to put on a good show. Opening with a dynamic intro that demanded attention, theatrical front man Oz performed the songs with soul. Their sound has influences of psychedelic rock from the 60’s along with darker progressive rock moments. The backing vocals were strong and confident, with perfect harmonies. Their sound makes effective use of layers of music and results in a powerful sound. Ending the gig with a mock hanging, and ears ringing The Sound of Superstring put on a fantastic show.
For me this heat was between two bands, The Corsairs and The Sound of Superstring, due to one having more commercial sounding music, and the other having the experience and showmanship, and as I predicted The Sound of Superstring came first, with The Corsairs coming second. It was a great heat with worthy winners.