Live at The Highwood on Saturday, 24th June 2000
Tonight, The Highwood saw 4 bands. I'll admit here that I'm not too sure who is who with this bill (in approximate terms). We started the night off with a semi-acoustic duo ie. singer/acoustic gutiarist and electric gutiarist. Despite a good (possibly great) grip of hooks and melodies, they failed to really ignite the audience and make them sit up and listen. They lacked variety, despite having a few good songs, it was a slow start. The electric gutiar player was very creative, ogling pepsi cans and various other tools to make his guitar sound different. I'll give them that.
Next, up a second acoustic due this time a singer and an acoustic guitar player, I think these were Monroe (possibly). They really showed the first band how to do it, brandishing the former's grip of great tunes but they kept the audience listening throughout despite the relatively low volumes. The singer had a truly stunning voice, and this showed throughout in their equally stunnig re-endition of Radiohead's Fake Plastic Trees, probably the set highlight. A guy with a voice like that really deserves recognition. They even went on to play bossonova and certainly kept the crowd captivated.
Next on we moved up a notch, volume wise definitely. Despite this being the tenth time I've seen them live, Dionysus played a good set, not the best I've seen of them but their mixing of classic Aerosmith rocking (complete with solos!), and Morning Glory era Oasis syle hooklines became the most apparent tonight. I've seen them play better, I've seen them play a lot worse but they were consistent. Mixing old crowd favourites such as "Mirage", "Complications" and "Amongst the Stars" with a few new numbers they really got into it. Guitarist Luke managed to break his £3,500 guitar yet again in the onstage rush but this band are consistent performers who played a mature set.
Finally, the headliners, despite this being their first gig and the fact that they don't really have a name yet provided a stunning show, both musically and visually. The fact that they managed to get a moshpit in The Highwood is something commendable. Opening with Guns and Rose's "Welcome To The Jungle", vocalist, Sam Thornton provided instant rapport with the audience, a very charimatic and talented frontman. Unafraid to be moved by the music. Not to downplay the rest of the band, the quality of musicianship was excellent (including James Bamforth's truly stunning guitar solo during "Heart Breaker" by Led Zeppelin). Other highlights being covers of Van Halen's "Aint talking bout love". Downsides? Their original material lacked identity and it didn't stand out from the rest of the ste, but as soon as this band's writing skills ctach up with their performance and instrumental skills we will have a band that could by the end of the year be biting on the heels of Leeds top unsigned bands like "Mariko" and "Orka". See them. All they need is a bloody name! All in all a great night!