Wednesday, 20 January 2010

New Stuff

Andy Needham
Briefcase of Fire
Battle for Prague
Night & Day: 19th January 2010

Right, so I'm ashamed to say I was around the corner in Spoons having a pint when Andy Needham played. I did hear them crack out a tune in soundcheck and what I gathered from that was pleasant piano-cum-acoustic fare, with competent vocals- exactly the sort of thing you'd expect to open a night at a quality venue like N&D.

So then, onto Briefcase of Fire. Taking the stage, it was promising that their guitarist was carrying a Flying V. As soon as they began however I realised that my optimism had been misplaced. Their singer insists on affecting a James Hetfield accent, and their chugging, power-chord driven songs all blended into one, with the possible exception of 'Hair of the Dog' that featured some more mid-career Soundgarden riffing. During their set, they kind of empty the venue, and although we all have to be in a band this bad at some point in our lives, for me it was at age 15, not 20. Bottom line here guys: you aren't very good, sorry. The doctor prescribes a strong dose of band practice and song writing before your next outing, and maybe then it'd actually sound coherent.

Battle for Prague should probably be the ones called Briefcase of Fire, for, good as they are, I can't really discern any obvious influences apart from different Kings of Leon albums. Their singer does do a very good Caleb Followhill, granted, but if this isn't deliberate, then it's surely unfortunate: for their songs are actually pretty good, and the standard of musicianship on display is exceptional (especially when contrasted with the band before. With their penultimate song they break their own rules, upping the the pace and leaving behind the flat Kings sound, managing to produce a quality alternative rock number that hopefully shows the future direction of this band. They've got the talent, all they need now are the songs to make them stand out.

But isn't that the problem that most unsigned bands have?

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