(review n pix by neil crud)
Assassinating school children is not really a profession of mine (I’ll leave that to dumb-bell toting teachers), so I was reluctant to review this gig on account of there being little to positively report on the ground-breaking music front other than guitar karaoke.
Teacher will always tell you not start a sentence with but.
BUT there were positives to take out of tonight. Today’s bedroom gangsters are tomorrow’s rock stars, and even your Matt Bellamys and Dave Grohls started somewhere, so why not at the Conwy Civic? And hats off to Big Bad Baz for sticking his neck out and promoting this gig; may his horses ride long and drink from fresh waters!
I reviewed a few of the MASE gigs that were on around 2003 – usually awful rubbish, but the bands always had one or two shining stars and five or six of those kids went onto release albums in proper bands. A member or two of Global Parasite played at those MASE gigs and have just internationally released their blistering ‘Memento Mori’ debut album this month, toured Holland and received Radio One airplay.
Angry parents used to email me for slaying their offspring at those gigs, and in the end I stopped reviewing them for that reason. I didn’t need some tosser in a cardigan calling me alsorts cos I didn’t think his son was very good. I played over 120 gigs myself and my parents not once came to see me (the twats), and I would’ve been mortified to see them there! Let alone have them start on some hack who told me some home truths (and there were plenty of them!).
Let’s face it, playing to your mates from school and having mum ‘n’ dad tell you how good you are is great, but you’re in for a shock when you get out in the real world and realise that you’re not the next Nirvana. Tonight’s bands – Wreckage, Reverse and Nova are not going to be the next big thing, at best it was painful for an outsider looking in. For the kids leaping down the front to a rough version of their favourite guitar band it was a great night, as it was for the bands themselves, and that’s what it is all about; having fun. The serious bit of writing songs can come later once you’ve a dozen or so shows under your belts. Keep the covers, they’re handy for earning a few quid at the Holiday Death Camps and weddings.
Nova (pic above) were playing their first gig, although it may have been their first rehearsal – but you know the score, you’re on stage, there’s a hundred people in front of you and you know every one of them. It’s shit your pants time! They’ll get over it, they’ll either stick at it and knuckle down, or split and form another band. The Paramore cover was the best when they brought out the acoustic guitars and the shy girl singer came to the fore.
I took a sneak at Reverse‘s (pic above) set list and saw what looked like 20 songs off a Student Union Jukebox so I decided to skip the first half and have a beer on the waterfront. One day they’ll learn that less is more and I came back to a sort of genre straddling grunge rock ‘n’ roll with uninspiring vocals that sprang to life when Rachel (I think that was her name) jumped on stage for a couple of numbers; she possesses the voice and the charisma every band cries out for. Amid the banal cover versions were a couple of originals that showed great promise in the song writing department. The drummer, the real talent in the band is off to college, so this was his swan song with Reverse and he finished that first original tune with a thirty second solo that wasn’t at all cheesy – in fact it was spot on. The second original number too had good dynamics, and should they find a new drummer (or perhaps merge with Wreckage and that girl) there is something to build on. Pretty much sums up the night when all I’m reviewing is two original songs!
So, from the second half of Reverse to the opening half of Wreckage (main pic), who have a good back line with a solid drummer but are let down in the vocal department. Either that or the whole band are playing in the wrong key. So with risking having a kipper nailed to the inside of my wardrobe, the singer should really consider quitting and doing a Sonny & Cher with his girlfriend, which is what he did when he invited her on stage to singalong hand in hand. Entertaining, in a cringe-worthy kind of way. Wreckage were the tightest band tonight and desperately need to jump off the bandwagon and play original material (as do their counterparts). Enough of this negativity, this is all part of the process, and gigs like this are well worth doing to gain experience. You can fuck up all you like in front of your mates, in fact you should fuck up a good ten to twenty times at as many gigs, for it is better to do it on safe ground and get it out of your system before you decide to take it to the next level.
Patronising? Probably… but at least you’re being written about…