Live at Woodkirk Valley Country Club on Friday, 7th July 2000
Free pizza anyone? Not only do you get a bright and diverse 40 minute set from this Leeds based outfit, but you also bag yourself some unwanted pizza, compliments of the management (that is if you get there early enough. 'Hot tip' - make sure you don't confuse Woodkirk with Whitkirk like yours truly!). Shortly after my somewhat belated arrival, and an even later influx of some of the bands' more regular fan base, the bizarre, almost tranquil setting of The Strychnine Lounge was shattered by opening track 'If Angels Had Teeth'. Despite losing their appetite for pizza, it quickly became apparent that Visa certainly hadn't lost any of their musical bite. From this point on, loud and tight were the order of the day as Visa embarked on a set that was reminiscent of a host of different bands, but cleverly (and I'm convinced it is their intention) never sounding too much like any one in particular. From the energetic, adrenaline-charged intro of 'Starts in The Morning', to the appealing, contrasting harmonies on 'Settle Down' passing through 'Arc', 'Green Light', and 'Wow Signal' on the way, Visa demonstrated a polished blend of impressive musical ability and collective composure often devoid of other bands on a local scene. Each track was built on a solid platform laid down by a more than competent rhythm section. Well defined and thought out bass lines were accentuated by drummer Veejay's definitive style, fusing the bounce and complexity of Alan 'Reni' Wren with the sheer energy reminiscent of Supergrass' Danny Goffey. A shiny covering veneer of memorable melodies, solid rhythm guitar and endearing vocals, all add up to giving this band a sound of their own.
For what at first glance looks like a somewhat unforgiving and to an extent unsuitable venue, it transpired that the acoustics and general suitability of The Strychnine Lounge were in fact quite good, with only minimal problems concerning occasionally washy vocals (nothing to do with the actual singers). The assembled crowd seemed suitably impressed, with one punter in particular embarking on an alcohol-fuelled Neanderthal-type spasm around the front of the dance floor. A good sign though. It's not so often you get a band on a local scene who can induce this level of enthusiasm into what at the start of the night, was a largely neutral crowd -and this guy was no spring chicken!. To top it all off, undoubtedly the nicest bunch of blokes I've encountered on the Leeds circuit - a sentiment echoed by support band 'ROI' (apologies for missing the set boys, will catch you at Joseph's Well later in the month!) Safe to say that by 11:30 most in attendance were converted into, erm..... Visa-ees, (sorry, but Visa-ettes sounds a touch feminine doesn't it?) and will hopefully turn out to support the band again. With more local dates towards the end of the month (next stop Royal Park) Visa are a must on current form.