Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Live Review :: The Shimmer Band/Bang Bang Romeo/BlackWaters/SONS :: Patterns, Brighton - Oct 15 2017


This Feeling 'Alive' Tour: The Shimmer Band / Bang Bang Romeo / BlackWaters / SONS

Patterns, Brighton

October 15 2017

Words/Pictures: Steve Willcox

After two weeks and 12 shows up and down the country, the triumvirate of The Shimmer Band, Bang Bang Romeo and BlackWaters finally come to close the This Feeling Alive tour in Brighton. Whether or not they all still feel quite as 'alive' as they did at the start, we shall see.

Joining the three tonight at Patterns venue on the seafront are local rock gods SONS. The brother duo of Nick and Lee Meldrum - rather like a familial Royal Blood, and just as loud - are no strangers to Brighton (Nick owns thriving music biz haunt, the Kensington Balcony cafè in town) and they have steadily built up a hot and sticky mosh live following.

The venue had already started to fill out by the time they take to the stage, and with no preamble head straight into ‘In The Line of Fire’. There might be just two of them, but their impressive decibel level belies member numbers. New song ‘Princess’ was debuted and brought the early moshers onto the dancefloor who had obviously been to previous SONS shows. Nick's steady drumming and Lee’s guitar riffs and the catchy chorus made the whole tune crash through and ramp up audience engagement.

Likewise, ‘Zealot’ is a great one for urgent guitar riffs, matched by the same sense of determination in Lee’s voice which brought the song to life, and brought the room alight with dancing bodies. 'Reptiles' - the song that first brought them to the ears of Little Indie, and later to public attention - with its Slaves-like influence, still sounds as raw and incendiary as ever, before they close the set on a high with ‘The End’. Inappropriately titled really, as this looks like just the start for this exciting pair.

BlackWaters too reek of animated fever with a live set that is always unpredictable. The former Guildford band, latterly relocated to Sheffield, have steadily been making waves and raising the bar, tonight is no exception. Frontman Max Tanner comes on stage looking like a younger, dapper version of Jarvis Cocker, and proceeds to strut and swagger with abandon, and generally own his few foot of space. Firing on all cylinders, they do exactly as the first song of the set suggests, ‘Let The Good Times Roll’, with Dave Carpenter's guitar riffs being good enough to make Glen Matlock proud of. Max's onstage presence is rather like Ian Curtis - but with the voice of Alex Turner and John Cooper Clarke’s lyrical twist.

The band's sound could be classed as skater punk, there's also evidence of early new wave influences in there as well. This sound soon gets the moshers back on their feet and dancing uncontrollably, while Brighton group White Room - who are big fans of BlackWaters it seems - were to be seen lending support with a little dancing themselves.

The drumming on ‘Fuck Yeah’ got the crowd into another frenzy along with the singalong
chorus that quickly got everyone in the BW zone. On last song ‘So Far Out’, Dave was ceremoniously hoisted up in the air by front row fans, while Max still somehow managed to keep hold of mic and song amidst it all. Top set, lads.

Next is Bang Bang Romeo. This four-piece from Sheffield despite having been around for a few years now, were still largely unknown until the middle of 2016, since which time they have grown a live show and a reputation for consistently excelling themselves with great rock 'n' roll tunes and a jaw-dropping vocal presence in Anastasia Walker. Starting with ‘Runaway', her powerful voice was soon on display, reminiscent of Helen Terry and Florence Welch combined alongside a touch of Grace Slick and 60s grooves dragged into 2017 makes their music unstoppable. New single ‘Natural Born Astronaut’ is a strong song with Ross Cameron’s guitar work along with Richard Cartland’s beats to making this uplifting number come alive.

The moshers have departed but dancers have taken their place and were rewarded by the psych-tinged ‘Chemical’. Starting with just guitar and a voice, it soon gets into the groove and was a joy to witness. Closing with the haunting and atmospheric 'Adore Me’ - which the crowd had very much done - the title track of their 2013 EP, its smoky essence filters around the room before filling out on tumultuous drums and heart-rending guitar. When Little Indie first saw BBR in Brighton it was back in May when they played a small pub (to a large crowd) as part of the Alternative Escape. You can be sure that next year this band will be nowhere but the main event.

Bristolians The Shimmer Band shimmer in greatness as the band of twentysomethings take control of Patterns as the last act of the night. It doesn't take long for frontman Tom Newman to get his mojo going and launch into ‘What is Mine’. Exuding unadulterated swaggering fervour, a heady mix of psychedelic keys and sharp punk beat, it's a perfect opener to get the crowd firmly behind them. With Newman's style, think Liam Gallagher crossed with Tim Burgess; dressed in a Madchester type hat, kagoule and donning a pair of  white oversized shades, he looked the epitome of the cool, hip rock dude.

What this band does best is to take the indie label and smash a double dose of synths into it, Kasabian style, nowhere better executed than on the anthemic ‘Sunkick’ which works the crowd into a frenzy, as they punch the lights and climb on top of each other to get a better view of the stage in the rammed room.

Last year's debut single ‘Shoot Me (Baby)’ starts with psych synths, followed by some kickass rock beats, which mix with Tom's voice and Tom Kuras’s bass hits and Daniel Barry’s guitar, in a perfectly worked combination. Ending the set with a totally banging ‘Jam Out’, this band showed the crowd why they are swinging from the branches at the very top of the indie tree.

With the end of this Alive tour, and having given fans an opportunity around the country to see a raft of fine new acts, we hope This Feeling have already started thinking about Alive 2.

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