(pix by neil crud review by martin devaughan)

In the absence of a “proper” review I thought I’d share my opinion of the night.

It’s been nearly a year since The Great Eskate Tour landed at Bar Blu in Rhyl and two of tonights bands – (well the only 2 bands on tonights bill, with the no show of P.O. Box) were on that tour. OK so I’m Martin (Green Dragon) it’s a well known fact that I managed both Xms3 and Mishap – I’ve taken the shit from all quarters sometimes because of my “over enthusiastic” style of promotion for my bands, but I make no apologies, thats my job. Tonight however we have nothing or perhaps everything to prove . You see I don’t go with this idea that Rhyl is the be all and end all of the north Wales music scene. Normally I wouldn’t let these two bands come to a venue that pays in beer tokens. So why are we here? Two reasons, firstly as a favour to Steve Rastin, the guy works so hard for the “scene” with very little thanks and secondly – what the hell, let’s rip up Rhyl.



OK the hype is out of the way, time to play. As I mentioned before, only 2 bands tonight which isn’t really a bad thing, as the goggle box is showing some minor league clubs kicking a bag of wind around some playing field and judging by the ohhhs and ahhhhs coming from down stairs it’s “quite exciting”. Last time we played here we brought our own PA but due to the financial restraints of Blu had to make do with the house system, which although much improved, still falls a little short of what this venue needs. First up we have Mishap who hail from Amlwch on Anglesey, presenting to me personally their new stage show, as I have to admit I haven’t seen them play live since last December. They have tightened up their set, become heavier and have listen to what has been told to them. Ash (guitar) and Jamie (bass), after a shaky intro, thrash it out as to who can contort themselves the most without missing a note, flailing about the “stage”, whilst Mark (Drums) keeps the wild emo tinged beat to full effect, at times almost pounding his way thru the snare. All this energy is offset by Andy (Vocals) whoes stage stance is just that – a stance, he hardly moves. He belts out the vocals with an almost breathless scream allowing the “show” to continue around him. Yes, Mishap are one of my bands, yes, I should say nice things about them, but at the same time I never lie to my artists. Mishap have come a long way since I first saw them, but they still have a way to go, but based on tonight’s performance and more importantly the gathered Rhylites reaction they are going in the right direction. The set runs just long enough to keep the audience entertain but not too long for the pull of the bar to distract. I even saw one Mr. Crud nodding his head a couple of times, whether that was a result of being impressed or the fact that he had consumed vast amounts prior to gig I have yet to find out.

A quick break, and I mean quick, as both bands are sharing the same back line means little change to the stage area, Xms3 hit the stage. All my hype, my reputation, my … yes my pride, is on the line here. OK I’ve said it many times – I don’t give a shit what people think of me, but judge these lads on their performance not on your opinion of me. They’ve taken flak in the past for being “pop punk”, they’ve been called “Americanised Copies” but tonight they are here at Bar Blu to show what hard work, determination and professionalism can do. I’m not going to run thru the set song by song. If you were there, I saw your feet tapping, I saw the “I’m too cool to dance” dancing, I saw the “I don’t do audience participation” clapping along when asked. Xms3 have tighten their sound, they’ve come of age.The delivered a tight, well rehearsed set with more power for a 3 piece band than many larger bands can muster. The twin vocals, over the blistering guitar of Jake compliments Dave’s thunderous drumming (although the PA didn’t quite get the full effect) Dan doesn’t just play a bass line, he hunts you down with his almost lead style breaks. Unlike many bands doing the rounds Xms3 don’t just play their songs to the audience they perform them, it’s full on entertainment. Once again I refer to the all knowing (!) Neil Crud who has told me is was suitably impressed with their performance (it should be noted I’ve been trying to get him to watch Xms3 for the past 12 months and only wished he had been in a fit enough state to write this review LOL) Suffice to say he did pay a very nice compliment by not only playing Xms3 on the Adam Walton show last Sunday but stating that they were “much improved”. They may be from a tiny island of the coast (Holyhead) but they have broken out of the small town mentality and are gigging around the UK on a regular basis. Tonight Rhyl got a taste. You either liked it or you didn’t but I know one of or two icons of the local scene who were extremely impressed with what they saw – do I care what they think? Well actually yes I do – not that it makes much difference to me personally but when compliments come from these quarters it’s gratifying to know we’re doing something right. I even had one of the weekly “regular punters” from Blu email me to say it was one of the best nights they had witnessed at Blu for a long time, so much so that they are travelling several hundred miles in the next few weeks just to see Xms3 again. Believe the hype and judge by performance not by preconceived fashionable put downs.

Big thanks to Steve Rastin once again, just hope one day the owners of Blu can dig deeper into their pockets.

Dave Cox considers another proposal