(reviewed by Steve Sync)
Still fuming over Raphael Benitez’s decision to field the Liverpool reserve team against a vibrant Burnley team in the FA cup, I watched Exeter take on Utd to hopefully pull off a similar ‘giant killing’ feat, only to find that Utd fielded their first team (where’s the risk in that? fucking lightweights!). I did hear after Utd’s 2-0 win that Exeter had actually fielded their reserve team. Start of the 2nd half, Valleum’s Alun appeared and invited me away from the football upstairs to join the Valleum lads who I hadn’t seen since the last time they played here a few months back. Now living in London it was good to hear about their experiences and gigs, and how they are gradually building up a following down there. We were interrupted by the other two acts on in Blu tonight sound checking, but from what I was hearing I was already impressed and looking forward to a great night of live music.
Mark Wilson sound checked whilst I was in mid conversation with Valleum’s Marcus, but we both had to stop and listen, as this very percussive rhythm beat and guitar smacked us in the face. I leaned over to look for the drum box he was using, and when I couldn’t find one, I thought he must have been playing to a backing track. I went back downstairs to watch the end of the football and I asked Steve Rastin if Mark Wilson was using a drum box or backing track, then he dropped the bombshell that he was creating the whole sound live from his acoustic guitar!!! I kid you not, this guys act has to be seen to be believed, it’s a well known fact that I hate acoustic sets, only because they’re very minimal in terms of sound and performance, but Mark Wilson plays drums, bass, rhythm, and lead, all at the same time on an ordinary acoustic guitar. During his set I found most people and myself were just in awe staring at his fingers, which were a blur from the speed of his playing. How does anybody teach themselves to do that? Most people have an acoustic guitar hidden away somewhere, and I bet after tonight, there’s a few Mark Wilson fans dusting down, and looking at theirs in a different way.
You are not expecting the Loungs to sound how they sound when you see them. They have an unusual image, and musical style, which is very appealing if you’re searching for new alternative music. In football terms they played live in a 1-1-4 formation with drummer obviously in goal at the back, the large lead guitarist with plenty of facial hair and sporting a red translucent golf visor in midfield, and four colourful front men, harmonising, and taking turns on lead vocals whilst playing their respective instruments – keyboard, acoustic guitar, bass, and rhythm guitar. It’s very hard to describe this band, as some of their songs have choruses a million miles away musically from the verses, although they are always held firmly together by this exceptionally tight and well-rehearsed band. One particular song I don’t know the name of, I can only describe by saying it sounds like The Beach Boys vocal harmonies, meets Madness – I like driving In My Car!! Weird hey?? But great to hear, and see. Another song they played reminded me of a Spiritualized track, but this is all good because each song in their set was fresh, and had a difference from the last. I think this band need to be seen or heard a few times to completely get the music, so I hope they come back to Blu again in the near future.
I reviewed Valleum the last time they played in Blu and I don’t want to repeat myself too much but they are a great band with a great sound, all musicians are ‘tight’ as fuck and Marcus is one of the most animated and talented front men/guitarist I’ve seen. As I mentioned before, the band now live in London, so they have new surroundings and are feeling their way around, playing new venues to new people and building up a following (young North Walian bands take note). Their set seemed short to me, but that could have had something to do with the alcohol intake I’d endured over the course of the evening (midnight at Blu turns my brain into a pumpkin!). I hope London doesn’t change the makeup of this band, and I hope they soak up the experience and grow from it, who knows, success could be just around the corner.