Live at HiFi Club on Monday, 23rd February 2009
The first band, Acrobats of Crete have their very own man to introduce them, who does a very good job rousing the crowd into some level of attention. Acrobats begin with an interesting guitar intro that is joined by the drums, and the vibe is already starting to get exciting.
The atmosphere of the intro is somewhat destroyed by the singer's addition of the customary word 'shit' just for the hell of it, but the band manage to push on and energetic guitar launches them into their first song.
Possibly one of the heaviest bands I have heard at the Hi Fi Club, Acrobats of Crete are exciting to watch, with well planned vocals, interesting rhythm sections which are all strung together well and even room for a little humour, with the music breaking right down and the singer declaring 'Jazz!' over the din.
They are fun, between songs they joke with the crowd (who, incidentally, seem to love the Acrobats own brand of emo-infused rock and roll). Musically, they seem reasonably adept, some messy sections resulting from lots of tempo changes, some bum guitar notes and the vocals are 90 per cent in tune, but it's the energy they have onstage that makes their show.
Dice City Lights are second. Despite the name which makes you think of American soft-rock, their music is quite energetic and rather well executed. The vocals initially remind me of the baritone hue of the Editors and Morrissey, but they also jump up and reach the higher falsetto register.
The Dice City Lights' best feature is probably their drummer, who plays perfectly in time and the band follow his lead. The singer is also very strong and delivers strong vocals that, although tinted with elements of arrogance and California, come across very well and he leads the band in true rock and roll fashion. Their music is very rhythmic with a lot more clinical than Acrobats of Crete, which brings their sound down to a much more accessible level.
Third up was Artibella, and they are extremely refreshing. A lot softer than Acrobats and Dice City, with the addition of Trombone and an extremely musician on the far left of the stage who turns her hands from guitar to harmonica to ukulele, among other things.
Artibella are intriguing - they really work the crowd with their short, optimistic, rhythm driven songs that feel like a melting pot that has elements of ska, rock, and some mid-American stylings reminiscent of Rockabilly, all executed with precise playing on all parts.
Image-wise they keep the audience interested, with each member having a distinct identity, rather than being an agent of the band's identity. The girls are pretty and the boys are cool, in a musician kind of way, making the image work and turning more than a few heads. Where Acrobats of Crete and Dice City Lights managed to fully entertain the audience members who enjoyed what they were doing, Artibella made converts out of everyone, and went down a storm.
The last act of the night is a band called Origami Bullets who have apparently played 360 before. The singer/guitarist of Origami Bullets is huge - easily six foot three or perhaps more. I'm immediately reminded of Nickelback with low-tempo, grinding rock overlaid by a gravel-tempered voice.
Their songs are very formulaic and they use the standard 'quiet/cleaner guitar tone for the verse and the louder/dirtier tone for the chorus'. Image-wise they seem to struggle as well, with none of the band looking particularly like they could grace the front of the NME.
On the positive side of things, their set is expertly-performed, with little in the way of bum notes and bad time changes. One gets the impression that if one were 'in to' what they are doing, one would definitely have a good time. In truth, many people in the audience seem to enjoy their music, but the numbers have certainly thinned slightly, which is perhaps an indication that the band are quite niche.
To their credit, they have one of the best marketing gimmicks I have ever seen from a band - lots of little origami birds with the band name written on.
All in all, a good night, and by the looks of things, very popular. Since I first attended a 360 Club way back in March, before it was even called 360, to watch a friend's band, the night seems to be getting busier and busier, a testament to the power of new music.
Dice City Lights are energetic alternative-rock from Leeds. 'Simply amazing!' - Tom Robinson BBC
Acrobats of Crete are a rock'n'roll band based in Leeds