The night began with Slides, a four-piece of two guitars, vocals, bass and drums and without an introduction they got straight to it. The first song had a strong start; the drums and guitars worked tightly together and the vocalists sang smoothly over the top, it then built in energy and volume. To be honest this formula was one that ran throughout their set. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, it works and showcases their talents as a band, it just tended to get a bit repetitive. The stand out song for me was called Cloak and Dagger, which was slightly gentler and you could hear the complexities and details more clearly. In terms of influences, you could hear echoes of The Police and Blur here and there. Slides have found what works for them and are doing well at the sound they’re making, I think for me just a bit of variety would have tickled my fancy.
Next to play were a band with a name that had to be repeated to me about three times for me to finally get it; Plantagenet 3. Two girls – one on drums and one on bass and a guy on the guitar began to play. Their music, sans vocals, is slick and atmospheric. The first song, based on a famous surf song, had a very Pulp Fiction feel to it mixed with the drummer going on and off the beat. The second song was ‘about things that go bump in the night’. Again, loaded with atmosphere and charged energy (and this time with an eerie undercurrent) the slidy guitar and bass worked brilliantly with the drums. My friend said it sounded a bit like a Twin Peaks and Nirvana hybrid and I reckon he had a point! This music definitely has a cinematic quality to it.
What’s clear is that the guy in the group is not only passionate about the music, but also about the inspiration for the music. For example, in introducing the song called Mechanical Turk he explained that it was named after an obscure Victorian contraption. In fact each song had a very detailed intro about what it was about. They ended on ‘Theme from an Imaginary Western’ (with a historically accurate intro of course!) It had currents of Kill Bill running through it and I reckon each audience member was imagining various western scenes to the impressive soundtrack. Focused and relaxed Plantagenet 3 is making slick music with a difference. Great to see live.
Next were the Brixton headliners, Silvers, raring to go to promote their new EP. With an impressive selection of instruments (two guitars, drums, trombone, bass, keyboard and a Mac) the four took to the stage and started with a song called Reactor. With a moody beginning you’re drawn in and as the vocals built in energy, so did the energy and pace of the song in general. Playing their instruments skillfully and with confidence, this punchy song got the set off to a good start.
After a brief introduction they played Blooded, which had a good melody and layered vocals. Alistair’s voice has shadows of Muse’s Matt Bellamy about it, which defines the band’s sound very much. They then played The Shore (also off their EP), which has a strong start and an upbeat melody, with a good dose of the trombone added too. Carried Away was a song that particularly stuck out for me. Alistair’s voice, rather than remain within the key he sticks with in the other songs, hit some impressive high notes, which highlighted the contrast between the lower notes he can also reach. His voice is unique and I think more songs with this huge range would mix things up a bit. This was my favourite song.
All in all Silver’s set was gutsy and positive. They are focused, energetic and judging by the size of the crowd, have an ever-growing fan base. What will be the clincher on whether you connect with their music however, is whether you like the sound of the vocalist. His voice has such a specific sound that it will either be music to your ears, or it won’t be your cup of tea. (But I guess that’s what music is all about isn’t it?)
You can buy this promising debut from http://silversmusic.com/music/