Horse Shoes, Panama Kings and Somthing Beginning with L

At: The Windmill 01/03/2010

To a small attentive Windmill audience, the first band Something Beginning With L started the night off. Consisting of Jen, Jon and Lucy they said hello and got on to business. What became clear early, on is that this is a band whose style can’t really be pinned down. This was confirmed to me when the end of their first song melted seamlessly into the chorus of ‘Call the Shots’ by Girls Aloud! This musical swerve was one of many, all of which were fun for the ears.

The band mix soft, almost deadpan vocals with building guitars and a thudding drum beat along with a healthy dollop of electro melodies. (Told you it was a mish-mash!)  ‘Overcoat’ talks of ‘feeling very small’ and the vocals are enveloped by the overcoat-esque music behind it. However, feeble and girly this band is not. ‘Mean’ starts off quietly, builds, and then roars into ‘You don’t mean as much as you think you do’ with thrashing guitars and powerful lyrics.

Both focussed and unpredictable, this was a great set. Something beginning with L? Lively, (up)lifting and long-lasting.

Next up were Panama Kings, four boys from Belfast with something totally different to offer. They brought to the stage with them an infectious energy that soaked their music too. Their songs have catchy riffs and a quality that makes it almost impossible not to move to. They sound quite similar to Rage Against The Machine but with a more interesting change of pace throughout their songs.

But, half way through their set their energy turned a little sour. The music stopped and the lead singer Niall Kennedy said, looking pretty worried, there appeared to be a problem. His guitar wasn’t getting through to the amp. Oh dear. ‘Do any of the other bands have a spare amp?’ he asked as everyone looked around a bit lost. I checked my bag just in case but predictably-no luck. Within a few long minutes a new amp was found and after apologising and deep breathes they got back on track.

Panama Kings are rousing and great to watch. They are a tight band with good tunes and have an interesting offbeat element to their songs. But, some of the songs do sound quite similar and although Kennedy has a good voice, the vocals don’t alter as much as the melodies and arrangements do, between the songs.

Last for the night and the headliners were Horse Shoes. Consisting of just two members, one being Jacob Graham of The Drums fame. Horse Shoes have an iPod, guitar and Drew Diver’s voice to make their music, which give their songs a beautiful simplicity.

Driver’s stage presence is a bizarre one. He appears to be lost in his own head and jerky arm and leg movements appear as though they are moving by themselves. Whilst fun to look at it could be a bit alienating at times as you started to feel like he was in his own world, especially when he turned his back to dance by himself! Whilst the simplicity is interesting and accomplished, I found myself wanting a bit more than just an iPod to accompany the duo.  Saying that, they were great to watch and their songs are drenched in childlike nostalgia.