Monday, 1 June 2009

The Enemy

As of tonight I'm officially retiring (for the forseeable future) from my short career of doing gig reviews!
Basically I just can't justify the intellectual turmoil that it puts me under, every sentance I write I have to read over meticulously for fear of coming across as too harsh, too nice, snobby, stupid, mostly just stupid. I have an issue with that, I HATE being called stupid, it's a flyaway comment that is used all too often, I'm guilty of it myself, but calling another human stupid is a grave insult in my book.

Blogging is different, no one cares about what I have to say here, but reviewing actually means something, my last review the promoters asked me to do it! I'm the enemy if I express my opinion, I'm a liar if I don't. Either way people are pulling me from both sides to be something. I love music, I enjoy writing, it should be a perfect match, but I have no authority for my opinion to be worth more than anyone elses. You want to know what a band is like? Just go and see them gig, form your own opinions, they are the most important, and don't judge gigs on what people like me say.

Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.

So here is my last ever review, it's probably my worst actually, it was pretty rushed, but you can see my others on nichart and nipodcast if you really care

Reno Room, Rupture Dogs, A Plastic Rose
Xposure, Auntie Annies 24/05/09

Xposure at Auntie Annies is fast becoming a mecca for new bands in Belfast, usually focusing on a locally established headliner coupled with up and coming acts, tonight saw Reno Room and The Rupture Dogs support A Plastic Rose. With a bank holiday on the horizon it would have been fair to have anticipated a packed house of revellers intent on making the most of a Monday off, but the crowd trickled in steadily only building up towards the headliners. Nonetheless the atmosphere made up for disappointing numbers early on in the night.

Reno Room valiantly took to the stage first and grabbed attention with the immediate highlight of their set, 'Can't Stop Hiding', the guitar riff to which instantly implants itself in the audience's head and refuses to let go. The grinding guitars are most suitably likened to an earlier Biffy Clyro sound, a time when vocals took a backseat to the purposeful intention of the melody. Unfortunately four songs into the set the lead singer's string broke, not an unusual occurance by any standard, but it seemed an excessively long wait before they were ready to play again. After the string debacle, despite being overtime already, they were rushed into one final song with their confidence obviously shaken.

Second up were The Rupture Dogs, providing a considerably darker, gritty element to the lineup, 'Today and Tonight' is an excellent example of how a good alt-rock song should sound. Rupture Dogs are brimming with potential for the future, their uncomprimising energy was evident on stage and explicit when word was spread that bones were chipped during the performance. Impressively powerful drums burst through every song, overall a highly enjoyable set which paved the way well for the headliners.

A Plastic Rose have been embarking on a whirlwind of gigs recently with the trend set to continue well into the summer. Fresh from supporting the ASIWYFA vs Fighting With Wire gig, A Plastic Rose have found their own following, evident by the marked increase in the crowd, and their willingness to edge ever so slightly closer to the stage. The harmonies in 'All You Know and Love Will Die' are staggeringly beautiful, vocally emanating a stripped down, raw side to the band, A Plastic Rose are versatile, and well aware of it. 'Opus Dei' begins in the same vein, emotionally effectual vocals contrasting with the increasingly harsher melody as the song progresses. This song obviously envokes some sentiment within the band, not least because they announced that originally it was an instrumental before they later added lyrics, both times debuted on that very same stage in the attic. As they announced they had played their final song I couldn't help but notice a few distressed glances around the audience, however after succumbing to the power of encore pressure, A Plastic Rose performed their essential crowd pleasing party-piece, 'Kids Don't Behave Like This'. The room was electric, they certainly have learnt how to whip up a furious reaction, a skill which is altogether lost in a huge number of other bands. As the chorus repeats the boys are obviously revelling in the crowd singing their own song at them, as the night draws to a close and Annie's dies quiet you can still hear the echoes of A Plastic Rose threatening “put your f*cking hands in the air! ...No...Seriously.” For a band like this, we'll do what we're told.

- Emma Louise Fisher

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