Good to be back at The Flapper again. It's a great little venue. They've got a bigger 'stage' there now as well, which is a darn good job given tonight's brilliantly eclectic bill. I do like a bit of variety and that's just what we got. We got something else too...in fact Platform Promotions pulled a bit of a coup here...more of that in a moment. But first, break out the bats, it's Only The Good! The lead guitarist's t-shirt summed it up pretty well really, ' Heavy Fuckin Metal'. He was a bit of a star actually, how the hell you do all of that head banging stuff without losing one of your frontal lobes I'll never know. Musically they rocked the Maiden out of the place, plenty of quality fret wanking and bonus points for the feet on the monitors ending. Nice touch.
How do you follow that? A singer / songwriter of course. Local troubadour Jamie Croft played a strong, passionate set of mainly original material (with a cover of 'Help' thrown in for good measure), the highlights of which were the Wild Wood-esque Dance With The Devil and I'll Save You Tonight. He reminded me a little of a (much) younger Van Morrison in places, but that's probably just me. By the looks of his Myspace page he's also got a band together too, High Roller. Hold on a mo, let's have a listen. Woah. Bit of a contrast there. Heavy rock ahoy. There's a good version of Jamie's track, The Feeling, on there.
Okay, this is the coup bit I was talking about earlier on. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Bryn Christopher. Not heard of him yet? You will. There's been a real buzz building around him for a while. Recently signed to Polydor records and featured in The Sunday Times Breaking Act section, he's also toured with Amy Winehouse, just got a record of the week on Radio One and had one of his tracks featured in hit TV show Grey's Anatomy (who says I don't do my research eh?). Oh, did I mention he was from Birmingham too? Ahhh, but is he any good I hear you cry? Well, yes he is. Very. Very, very good. He has one of the most soulful voices I've heard in years. Crystal clear at the high notes (shades of David McAlmont at this level) but capable of the dirtier stuff (you know what I'm talking about ladies) at the lower end of the spectrum. Hark at me, I'm going all muso on you eh? Just listen to the first few seconds of, aptly enough, Seconds Ago. That's some funky shit. Now check out It's Taken Me Over. Heartmeltingly glorious. Needless to say he is going to be a big star here in the UK, but probably even bigger in the US. It's as a live perfomer that he really shines though. Confident without being too showy, totally connected with the music...he shakes a mean booty too. The audience were in the palm of his hand from start to finish and his cover of Portishead's Sour Times WILL be number one if it's ever released as a single. Hell, pretty much every track he played WILL be number one. I was lucky enough to have a brief chat with him at the end of the show and what came across (on top of being a lovely chap) is just how much he loves performing. Sure, it was The Flapper, but it could just as well have been Madison Square Gardens or his best mates living room. Bryn loves to perform and, pretty soon, thousands of people are going to love seeing him every bit as much.
Right. Follow that someone. You had to feel for The Siege, they said as much themselves. But, rising to the occasion, they put on a really good show. Indie rock with more than a nod in the direction of The Verve and Oasis, both of whom I've seen live, and I have to say, I prefer The Seige. No bull. There. If you ever get to read this, The Seige, print that on your posters. "Better than Oasis and The Verve - it's official!" - The Hearing Aid. Check out Riders and Don't Let The World, then tell me I'm wrong. Live they put everything into it and one chap just next to me nearly danced himself into the middle of next week. Job done.