(review steve sync / pix courtesy of ben powell)

Had to come down tonight for two reasons – The first is, I only saw the first song in Micrographia’s set last time they played Blu, and I liked their sound, and the second is for the pure hype surrounding the very outspoken Lantern at the moment on the Link2Wales message board. I am all for bands (good or bad) that can self promote and come out with controversial comments to get reactions as Lantern have in recent weeks. It was probably the best publicity they could have given themselves before this gig in Blu, because regular message board users were all talking about them, and all the people they’ve riled with their arrogance, were all present to see what all the fuss was about (myself included).

Lantern were certainly prepared for this gig down to the very last detail tonight. They had a mass of equipment with them; drum mics, and an older gentleman (possibly a band members father) on a mixing desk as well as the Blu soundman on his mixing desk. All this preparation and extra equipment did pay off because from the first note they played, the sound quality was loud, clean, and much better than a standard Blu PA set up. I’m not into the ‘Iron Maiden’ guitar style songs in their set, but they are diverse enough for me to like other songs, particularly the second song ‘Broken’ which gets better every time you hear it. They also played tonight one of the best cover versions I’ve seen performed by any band in any venue. The bass player took over the vocal duties, and Lantern performed ‘Bullet In The Head’ by ‘Rage Against The Machine’, which was flawless and was re-created exactly like the original. I’m not a cover version fan, but this was superb considering I could compare it to the real thing having seen RATM play this song live when they originally toured their self titled album in the early 90’s. My only criticism of young bands playing superb cover versions is – if they can put that much time and work into learning a song already created, why not put the same time and work into creating an original song which could be as great as the cover, but I do have to applaud them on this occasion. I think most people’s expectations were higher of Lantern tonight and they had a lot to prove, but I think they did a good job of letting their music do the talking for a change.

I have very little to say about Micrographia because by the time they came on, I had drank more than my share of lager, and switched to double Jack Daniels, which blurred things a little for me. I can only say that after the technical difficulties in the first song, they settled down and performed a great set of ambient but powerful space aged throb rock! Their backing track provides some great drum tracks and sounds, but I cant help thinking they would sound better with live drums, and live samples and keyboards. As their set went on, Blu got more and more psychedelic as we were washed around the room in a trance, or was that just me? I must have been drunk because I even turned down some Bisky Whisky in favour for a chicken tikka kebab. I don’t care, I don’t mind going to work on a Thursday looking like Keith Richards.

(click here for more pics)