Live at Cockpit on Friday, 13th July 2012
The night kicked off with Dimension, a hard rock trio who entered boldly with a strong beat amidst brash guitar pulls. They were fairly tight as a group, but transitions between tempos were a little disjunct. They had a good stage presence and the lead guitarist was highly energetic, adding to his great instrumental skill, such as pulling off a great wah solo in their song 'Miles Away'. They made great use of varying dynamics and dramatic pauses. However, their music grew to be a little repetitive, and further development in each song would have eliminated such aspects of tedium. For example, they used a powerful drone in the bass, which was wholly effective, but it was repeated throughout, and so became rather monotonous. They seemed to lack in something distinctive, to set them apart from other bands of equal calibre and genre, despite being very slick with their song writing and performance. The two guitars often mimicked each other, and differing guitar lines would have built upon the texture and given a much more full sound. As a whole, however, they made a great opening impression. They seemed a really approachable bunch, and I did enjoy their set, but I feel they need a certain feature to separate them from other bands of a similar style.
Next up, pop-rock quartet A Plastic Rose took the stage. These were touring the UK, and originally from Belfast in Northern Ireland. They had a tight and energetic intro, displaying their direction change to a much heavier sound, which contrasted the epic ballads in previous EP 'The Promise Notes'. Vast energy was present throughout the set, and there was great crowd interaction as the band settled in towards the end. They built a greater texture than the opening band and, on a whole, the band performed well to the smallish crowd, having a fairly good stage presence. However, the second song started very sloppily, and obvious mistakes were made, which isn't good to see from a band touring a different country. Despite the shoddy start, the song progressed strongly and powerfully and developed into a classic grand ballad. Punky rhythms were entwined with full chords, giving a feel of both liveliness and harmonic capability. Vocals were catchy and melodic, but the sung harmonies between the two guitarists were off in places, and definitely required tweaking. The highlight of the night was their newest single 'Boy Racer', and the rest of their set unfortunately lacked the power of this track. A charming chilled track was set to end the set, before it unexpectedly developed into a fully-fledged, dramatic distortion breakdown. The songs generally had great potential, and can definitely become anthemic rock songs, but the band needs to really tighten up and only bring their best possible show when playing internationally, to ensure they make the best impressions that they can.
Headliners Kasiuss topped off the night fantastically with their unique pop-rock style. Despite this being their first gig in a fair while, anyone would think they were mid-tour, as they were unbelievably tight and professional. Their take on arena rock combined the easy-listening aspects of popular music, but preserves the heavy tones to add more substance, feeling and drama to the music. Energetic and cheeky riffs led the way through a very rich texture. They made great use of dynamic ranges and huge crescendos, while showing a capability to play quietly and still maintain the rock-fuelled atmosphere they desire. Intertwining distortion in the guitars filled out any gaps and created a heavy tone, while frontman Biz's raspy soulful tone had great melodic discipline and flow, complimenting the pop elements of the group. Full jazzy chords added colour to the music, bulking out the music as much as possible, and a gentle relaxing lounge feel was achieved through some of the songs, underpinned by groovy bass licks. They were, by a long way, the most competent band of the night and I thoroughly enjoyed their set. They produced beautiful atmospheric music with a real heavy backbone and character, and played with real ambience and great showmanship. I cannot wait to hear more from this brilliant band, who are recording new material at the end of the month, and would certainly recommend them to anyone.