(Review Richard Hibbert / Pics Dave Mounter)

Hailing from Bangor, Shoot The Rabbit (pic below) opened with an intriguing six track set, (Level 3, Four Bars, Traffic Cones, Stomper, Kes & Evan). Their sound was a mixture of hypnotic bass and drums, silky seductive vocals, with some subtle yet intricate guitar thrown in for good measure. Matt Norton’s bass playing was so casual in style, that one could be excused for missing the slick fingered, complex riffs he was delivering. A very un-dramatic yet totally engaging set, which left me wishing they had brought some sampler C.D.’s with them, as I am convinced that they would be a good listen, over and over again. If they ever make it to Abraxis, their style would guarantee them a listen there.

Wrexham’s Stopthe64 (main pic) featuring frontman Mr. Sheep, on bass Sam Sulivan, ghost dancer Sean Richards and drummer Kraig Love followed with a total change of tempo. If Shoot The Rabbit were hypnotically rhythmic, then these guys were like an unwelcome alarm clock, reminiscent of the insert on D.S.O.T.M. There’s was a somewhat avant garde performance, with bass, guitars and drums all going their own way. This cacophony was heightened by the incessant buzz and hum, produced I am told from the bewildering plethora of effects pedals in front of ‘Mr Sheep’. This really does need sorting out as the effect was not pleasant to listen to. Although not generally in the same league as the preceding group, this was an enthusiastic, energetic display, for which the vocalist would do well to confine himself within his vocal competencies.

Closing act, Deeside based – The Issues, gave us four tracks of their own material (Enter The Mirror, Insanity Calls, Lucy Was A Lie and Save Yourself) to close out the evening. Jay Lloyd – Vocals/Lead, continues to impress with his guitar work and his ‘frontman’ duties, which are developing nicely, on guitar Chris Foulkes compliments Jay beautifully, with both vocal harmony and slick rhythms, with Kris Brown providing very energetic beats, driving the whole sound forward. This was the first time I had seen ‘new’ bassist Mike Sealey perform. Coming out from behind the mixing desk, and free from ‘crewing’ duties, his performance on the night was … amazing! I am constantly surprised with the quality of bass players that Deeside has/is producing recently, and this performance was equal to any I have heard on the local scene. I always thought that The Issues had the potential to make a real impact on the local scene and beyond, and on this performance, they are well on their way.