Live at Brudenell Social Club on Thursday, 31st May 2007
There's a strong sociable ambience at tonight's EP launch for i concur. The whole evening is endearingly informal - partly a product of the choice of venue, but most importantly of the obvious musical friendships between groups. It's a combined effort from all the bands and musicians this evening to make it a memorable gig - and what a fantastic result.
First up is Peter Wright, a rather quirky acoustic singer-songwriter. The opener is slightly weak, but "Winslow's Melody" is a great showcase for Wright's highly individual voice and luscious guitar parts. After a long and tangential story of a dream he had about the gig (mainly consisting of train wrecks at the Brudenell), there is only enough time in his set for two more songs, both of which are entertaining and absorbing, supported by some very good banter with the audience.
Mickey Charbagz's performance is the only somewhat unconvincing one this evening. The transition from record to live doesn't seem to suit Mickey Charbagz exactly and his set is marginally lacklustre, perhaps largely due to the dwindling attention of the audience; the omission of some of the parts for a cut-down performance could also be a contributory factor. His song writing is rather low-key and atmospheric and as such is possibly not of so much interest to the bouncing (figuratively) audience.
The arrival of Rotary Ten on stage stops the audience's conversations midflow - initially because of the pure volume in contrast to the two previous hushed acoustic acts. Soon enough, though, Rotary Ten's outstanding indie tracks have everyone won over. The vocals are extremely impressive and truly sparkle, with some very memorable hooks. The guitar parts are also praise-worthy, most notably "Your Hands Our Stares" which features some wonderful use of harmonics, putting a new twist on off-beat, spiky indie tracks.
The set is brought to life by the band's stage antics - the singer manages to pull off standing on the speakers to the front of the stage without looking like a stereotypical attention-seeking vocalist, while the drummer plays with such animation that it is almost exhausting just to watch. The band is clearly enjoying performing as much as the audience is enjoying watching.
Yet again we are treated to a dazzling group and captivating set, this time from The Pattern Theory. Surprisingly for an instrumental band, this act sparks off as much interest as any of the groups with vox. Some of the musical talent on show in this band really confirms that this gig has cherry-picked some of the best musicians and songwriters from the area. The most striking element of The Pattern Theory is their beautifully melodic bass lines: often competing with the guitar parts as the main melody, this trait makes them stand out from the crowd of bands with 'root-note' bass players. Their music is just the kind of 'experimental' music that you always hope for - ambient and atypical, but still tuneful and very listenable.
The bass player is put on frontman duties today, and openly admits he's awkward about it: "It's all right for him, behind his drum kit, and they're both at the sides, but I'm in the middle...". However, in his bashful and inept attempts to be garrulous, he discovers this is a fantastic way to engage the audience in between songs.
By the time i concur launch in to their set, the Brudenell is starting to look very, very full. And it's easy to see why so many have flocked here. i concur have some pretty fantastic songs that each have complex and stunning instrumental parts playing off each other. Every song is a real musical statement, and they're statements you can't disagree with either. Performing with contagious energy and zest, they are wonderfully received.
They play all the songs off the EP, as well as some recently penned material, with enthusiasm and panache. Their performance this evening of "Decimal Places" is particularly arresting, sounding perfect down to the smallest detail, and is just plain astounding. "Build Around Me", an unreleased track, also shows that i concur have undoubtedly plenty of material above and beyond the EP that is astonishing and that there will be much more to expect from them in the future.
On the strength of their performance this evening, the EPs deserve to go flying out of the door at the speed of light, and I'd like to bet they did.
Once their set is over, despite the fact that the whole gig has run over terribly, it really does seem like it went far too quickly. It is, however, a relief for me as there is certainly a limit to the number of positive adjectives I can fit in one review.
'Macabre folk noir' Tasty Fanzine