A video from last Saturday’s SMILE in the Square. Featuring clips of performances by Kathryn Anderson, Charissa, Oliver, Alice Avenue, Simon Says, Made By Giants, Fly Frankie Fly & Cardinals.
Reviewed previously by Behind The Smile, from a Joiners show just two days earlier, Made By Giants start off tonight’s show at Avondale House with music which is perhaps better suited in the afternoon with a cappuccino, than a night-time live music venue. Their music is pretty and relaxing, and they are good at what they do, but they don’t give the impression of musicians that are trying to achieve too much. The acoustic duo’s final song, a cover of Foo Fighter’s “My Hero” isn’t the most imaginative of song covers, and it fails to rouse much of a reaction from the restless and growing crowd at Avondale, who are perhaps wanting something louder.
Not many bands can write seemingly nonsense songs about subject matters like peanut butter jelly and still maintain their integrity, but Simon Says manage to pull it off with their brand of infectious reggae. A fun-loving band that left the more uninhibited members of the audience smiling, Simon Says made their way through a lively set, showing themselves to be completely at ease with the audience between songs and encourage sing-along’s during, and it is clear with the amount of audience members singing along, that a number of people have seen them before. While this is a promising sign that shows they are building up a fan base, they should not forget to refresh their well-rehearsed set before they begin to show signs of becoming stale.
The penultimate act of the night (and the second who have been previously reviewed by us), Oliver, step up to the plate next with a sound that can be described best as calypso infused pop. This is a band that would be best listened to sitting on a beach in Jamaica, sipping on cocktails. Lead by the soulful voice of Bonnie Elizabeth, the band remains tight throughout, as the bassist holds down the rhythm with some skillfully crafted walking bass lines. Their catchy vocal melodies grab the audience’s attention throughout the set, and as the band vacate the stage, the songs are still ringing in the ears of the crowd.
The venue is at full capacity for tonight’s headliner Brother & Bones, and there is an atmosphere of anticipation throughout the venue. The addition of a second drum kit meant that anyone who had not already heard of the London-based 5 piece were left expecting something exceptional. - and exceptional it was. With the full force of a nuclear bomb to the face, Brother & Bones deliver a blistering half-hour set filled with perfectly synchronised, stomping beats from the two drummers. Impressive guitar work, rhythmic bass, excellent dynamics and folky vocal harmonies combine to create their patented sound. With an airtight set, well crafted songs, and a sound that leaves an audience breathless, Brother & Bones are a fine example of the talent that is coming out of the British music scene.
Brother & Bones
All images of the night are available at http://www.flickr.com/photos/behindthesmile/sets/72157629183607494/
Footage from last nights show at Avondale House, featuring Made by Giants, Simon Says, Oliver and Brother & Bones.
Clips from last night’s 3rd Year Performance Showcase! Made by Giants, Flatland Wolf and Alice Avenue are all included.
The Joiners Arms has always been renowned as one of Southampton’s most prestigious venues, viewed as a golden platform for bands to push beyond the constraints of the rusty tour van and achieve national and international success. It was now the turn of third year Solent Music Performance students to showcase their talent and prove that they could follow in the same vain.
Made by Giants and Flatland Wolf launched the showcase with their harmonious selection of folk and acoustic numbers. The Giants were the first of the pair to perform and in doing so created a coffee shop atmosphere as they very gently busked their way through their set of originals and covers. Flatland Wolf however pushed beyond this with more of an edge, swiftly moving into country territory that continued to flourish as the set proceeded. With the remarkable banjo sound and the luscious harmonies of the lead singer, the group could have made any cowboy proud with their excellent display of the raw American sound.
Almost as soon as Flatland finished, Joiners was ready to host the ‘dressed for the occasion’ three piece Alice Avenue. Before there was even time to take a breather the band launched into a country blues style electric riff. It was refreshing to feel a live drum kit and thumping bass line after the acoustic openers. The band clearly have musical talent, in particular the singer/guitarist who showed off immaculate playing of technical chord progressions, sliding and solos. By this time the venue was beginning to fill up nicely and this gave the next band, Oliver, the chance to impress. The band began with an upbeat funky riff the late James Brown would have been proud of, this merging into some light and breezy rhythmic playing which filled the room with a summer breeze. They were especially good at interacting with the crowd, at one point starting a drinking game where by crowd members would take a drink every time certain lyrics were sung (which was a lot). Oliver finished on a high with their song Earl Grey Tea, which made me want to put my speedos on and have a game of volleyball with the Jamaican olympic team.
Light Alliance were next to take the stage, who brought with them a checklist of eighties influences. They sounded like a mix between The Style Council and Culture Club, which although being a sound perhaps unfamiliar amongst their peers, would have been quite fitting if performed at a holiday retreat. Birds in Flight followed with their fine expedition of crushing riffs and blistering solos. The singer unsurprisingly was the most intriguing member of the group as she paced up and down the stage staring intensely into the eyes of the audience. She appeared beautifully strange and made me recollect my memory of Kate Bush’s Wuthering Heights music video. Topping off a very long line up of bands tonight were Sober Sleeps who immediately tried to ‘pump it up and have some fun’. The band started with some technical metal riff fusion and the guitarist pulled out some brilliant stage moves from the handbook of hair metal guitar gods. They went onto cover some difficult songs including Slither by Velvet Revolver which managed to gain some energetic crowd involvement, leaving the night on a high.