Monday, August 25, 2008

Platform Promotions All Dayer @ The Sound Bar, Saturday 23rd August 2008

Putting on several bands in one night must be a bit of a logistical ‘mare. Putting on 10 in a day…two days in a row…well that’s just nuts. But that’s what the lovely Becs from Platform Promotions has done and, whilst we had a few ‘no shows’, there was plenty in the first day’s line up to keep me happy. First up were Emily and brother Ben. I did catch their surnames…but I’ve forgotten it…’cos I’m old and a bit dim. Emily has a beautifully clean, clear voice together with a strong batch of self penned songs. She bravely tackled Winehouse’s Back To Black as well (not an esay song to sing) and did it oh so much better than our Amy does these days. She remembered the words for starters…always the mark of a professional. Seriously though, she added her own touch to the track, which ain't easy when you're doing such a well known piece.

Next up (and bringing an enthusiastic crowd of fans), street poet and all round local legend Barnesy. He’s got a nice knack of combining a sort of high speed, rap tinged vocal delivery with a surprisingly soulful voice on tracks like Estates Are In A State (his best song so far in my humble opinion and well worth a listen), a Gil Scott Heron of the Midlands if you like. And I do. (NB: the more I listen to this track the more I love it...this is seriously good stuff...)

Long Road Ghosts were up next. LET’S ROCK! Set the amps to 11. Oh yes. I have to say that, thanks to a brilliant performance, they really grew on me during the set. As with one or two of the bands today there’s a hint of Oasis to the music, but I got a real Led Zepplin edge at time too. Influences aside, it was a fine showing with plenty of pounding riffs and oodles of energy.

After popping out for a restorative Wetherspoon’s gourmet burger (don’t tell me I don’t know how to live eh?) and a pint of Old Rosie (hangover ahoy), we got back in time for Dastards. There’s a distinct ‘80’s new wave vibe about the band that (being a child...oh alright then...teenager of the 80’s) I really liked. It’s tricky to get this sound just right ‘live’ and, listening back to their My Space tracks, the full Dastards experience didn’t totally come through. I reckon they could do with a massive PA and a fookin' massive stage with lots of dry ice and three female backing singers in PVC. In other words I think the live sound needs to be beefier…not sure how you do that…maybe use more beef (I never said I was technical). Check out ‘Take A left’ from their My Space page and you might get an idea of what I'm wittering on about, well worth a spin.

The Red Caps were next. If you’re a fan of the Verve, Kings of Leon or Oasis you’ll be in heaven here (it seems that they’re even doing a gig with Bonehead soon). Blending 70’s stoner rock with classic Manc attitude, one of their guitarists even had the balls to play one of those double necked jobbies…he did it jolly well too. I can’t even play the triangle…

What can I say about Old School Tie that I haven’t said before? They invented the Oreo biscuit and all live in a giant toadstool just outside Rubery…I haven’t said that about them before…that’s probably because it isn’t true. What is true is that they have a brilliant way of making every track sound like it’s a jam, employing an organic way of playing that few bands could, would or should attempt. That OST pull it off every time says just how accomplished they are. And they played a storming version of God’s Electric Super Scene with the dude from 360 on bongos (pictured below)…YAY!

The night ended with yet another spirited performance from Birmingham’s very own good time skankfathers, 360. It’s impossible to keep still whilst watching them and I ended up doing some kind of strange hand dance with Lady B (to one of their standout tracks ‘Crazy Lady’ as it happens…how darn appropriate). It's a shame there aren’t more bands like 360 about these days. Thanks to multi-racial, genre blending groups like The Specials and The Beat, the Midlands was the birthplace of a unique form of UK ska way back in the dim and distant 70's. Fast forward 30 years and it's strange that, given the diversity of cultures in our fair city, how little diversity there is in our bands (and our audiences for that matter). I can’t help feeling that our future, musically and socially, should lie in the same direction. After all, the city that plays together, stays together...just a thought.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"I reckon they could do with a massive PA and a fookin' massive stage with lots of dry ice and three female backing singers in PVC."

Sounds good to us! We're working on it.

Cheers - thx for writing this.