The last (and only time) I'd seen them was at their second ever gig. They were good then, but after a year or so of gigging, writing and getting into the swing of things they've grown into a much more impressive and confident group. I bet the recent tour to the Middle East helped. Yes. The Middle East. Playing with Fun Lovin' Criminals no less. Impressive huh? Well, I think so. I also think the Vix n' the Kix album (due out in the Spring sometime) deserves some serious attention. I've no idea what tracks are going to be on it but If and Bye Bye have to feature. If kind of reminded me of Fleetwood Mac in places. The Stevie Nicks era obviously. Whilst Bye Bye is classix Fuzzbox for the 21st Century. What I like also like about the Vix n'the Kix is that they look good. I don't just mean sexy, sexy hubba hubba...but they look like a band. They have a clear, cool style. They make the effort, which, let's face it, few bands do these days...blokes in particular (looking like a builder in a shell suit ain't making an effort). Anyway, this is turning into a dissertation on pop fashions. Suffice to say, I love Vix n'the Kix and, if there is any justice in this mad, bad old world they will bestride the pop landscape like great big things that bestride stuff. So there.
Next up was Jodi Lawrence and her boys playing an acoustic set that really gave her fine voice the chance to do the talking...well, singing...oh you know what I mean. As a group they play together really well, pulling off some complex melodies. It's always tricky watching a set like this though, the venue and audience plays a huge role in helping (without wishing to sound wanky) you get 'into' the music (I sound wanky don't I?). Whilst most of the audience were attentive, it only takes a few chatterers to distract you. When there's a great big wall of rock coming from the stage this ain't a problem. But acoustic music demands a similarly gentle output from those watching...here endeth the lesson. Jodi and band are playing the BAFTA awards shortly which should give them some excellent, well deserved exposure.
Leitmotif followed. Listing Coldplay as an influence (not my favourite band but hey...live and let live eh?) made me a little nervy, but Leitmitif are a lot more whooooh and far less bombombombom. Which is a very good thing. Lead 'motif Chris' voice is perfectly suited to the material and with rockier tracks like High On Life and Don't Believe the Voices (which uses that signature Coldplay guitar sound pretty well) you can see them building a strong following.
Last up, Chris Tye. As with Jodi, Chris played a stripped back set which was always going to have to compete with the inevitable Friday night good time vibe. Chris has a sublime voice...gentle, slightly bluesy in places, and a fine set of songs. For me though the highlight of the set was an excellent cover of Robyn's 'With Every Heartbeat', one of those rare covers that's probably better than the original. Hat's off once more to Kamikaze! for putting on a good mix of styles in one night. The next few weeks sees the volume cranked up to 11 with Destroy Cowboy and This Machine Is Off (who sound dead ravey!) amongst a strong bill on the 7th. Mine's a vodka and coke...