Archive for the ‘The Marlowe Theatre’ Category

 

  • High Tide
  • The Fruit Group?
  • Skies
  • David Ellis and Band

 

The Marlowe Theatre on the evening of 27th April 2013, brought an invitation (and ticket) for something that was a little to good to refuse.  High Tide invited me along to review their EP Launch Gig held in the Studio in the wonderful new building that is now the home of The Marlowe Theatre.  I hadn’t been inside the studio before and I have to say how impressed I was.  It was a real pleasure to be able to see bands on the local music scene, provided with the opportunity to play on a large stage with quality sound and lighting.

I arrived early via the stage door and sat for a while at the back, watching David Ellis and his band sound checking.  The lighting and sound engineers have to be credited for their professionalism and dedication to getting it right!  Just amazing to hear these local acts sounding at their absolute best, well done The Marlowe Theatre for providing this new platform!

High Tide

High Tide

David Ellis was the first act on stage and one would be forgiven for thinking this was going to be a solo acoustic affair, but no.  David was joined by his fellow band members:  Dave Wright (guitar) – Patrick Channon (bass) and Emily Downs (drums).  Yes that’s right Emily on drums and I have to say how good it is to see a female drummer.  I cover many, many gigs and do not see this often!  It’s very clear that David has an incredible voice, but the sound produced by this band is a little unusual and highly appealing.  Favoring the use of the loop pedal (something I am becoming somewhat of a fan of) and some re-verb on his vocal, give this band a rich and all encompassing sound.  In fact I would go as far as to say that if you closed your eyes you could almost be forgiven for believing there were far more instruments playing than actually were.  First song of the set Goodbye, started soft and gentle, reverb on vocals and was both catchy and melodic, suddenly kicking into a faster rhythm.  A mystical almost haunting rendition of Black and Gold with the use of the loop pedal, had the hair on the back of my neck standing up at one point.  Livening up the set with an upbeat single called Tornado saw the crowd suddenly start to clap along and showed the diversity of the band.  Looking around at the audience throughout David Ellis’s set showed a real mix of age groups in the crowd and all really appreciated the music, getting involved with clapping along, a few dancing.  They really do appeal to all age groups and I highly recommend you check them out as soon as you can.

David Ellis

David Ellis

Skies and although it galls me to say this, but formerly known as Blaise Paisel (I wonder how long is the right time to continue to keep announcing the formerly known as?  I guess that’s a decision the guys will know themselves at some point in the future).  This is a band I’ve heard a lot and seen a couple of times, but not had the chance to review or photograph and I have to say I like a lot.  A particularly good mix of Indie/Alternative gives this band a real punch to it, a sound you simply cannot ignore.  Their song writing ability is way above par and produces numbers more catchy than the common cold.  With 6 members in the band now, the music produced is extremely full and complex, while still managing to have each instrument easily distinguishable.   Alie’s unique voice is still clearly heard which is good because the lyrics to their songs need to be heard.  Josh’s voice on backing vocals compliments Alie’s perfectly and the addition of a tambourine at times just adds to the fun element.  Speaking of fun, this band know how to have it and consequently so do any crowd watching them.  They never fail to get the audience dancing and clapping and they even manage to turn a song that should be sad or bitter, fun.  If Absence Makes The Heart Grow Fonder, You Better Stay Away A Little Longer is a song about exes and there are not many bands that can write a song on such a subject, that has a crowd dancing more than ever.  Performing Leave Me, their debut single under their new name, showed how many fans were in the audience as many were singing along, seemingly knowing all the words.  This is a band that already has a large fan base, this fan base will grow, a lot, mark my words!

Skies

Skies

The Fruit Group?  These guys describe themselves as a jam band and I couldn’t agree more.  I have to be extremely honest from the off and say that its not particularly my cup of tea.  HOWEVER, and it is a big however, you cannot detract from the talent of these musicians.  I had seen them once before in a small venue with a not very good PA and have to say how different the performance was this evening.  Although the band do not seem particular fans on lyrics (hence I agree with the genre description of jam band), when they do use lyrics they are somewhat fun and simplistic.  This was very evident in songs entitled Muscles and Amphibious in particular.  Taking away the lyrics (and you can do, as most of their tracks have very few) and what you are left with are complex and rich instrumentals.  These guys can ‘jam’ and they do, producing the most amazing sound that is warm and rich and at times reminds you of tropical beaches and sunshine.  Although I feel they ‘may’ have a pretty niche fan base, there were plenty that loved it and were dancing along.  Don’t get me wrong because I may say a niche fan base, but the music and songs they produce would be appreciated by most chilling in a bar or who fancy a little dance.  It’s not dis-likable music by any stretch of the imagination, in fact these guys had me in awe of their guitar playing skills.  Towards the end of the set High Tide jumped on stage, plugged themselves in (well their instruments) and one long and extremely fun ‘jam’ (yes there’s that word again) session ensued to close their set.  I really cannot say I dislike this band and I don’t think many could, it just isn’t for me on a regular basis (sorry guys, not meant offensively at all!)

The Fruit Group?

The Fruit Group?

High Tide!  Wow!  Now I’m not just saying this as they were the headline act, because they asked me to come along or because they supplied me with a ticket.  Yes you could probably say that this performance would have been above average, with the buzz in the venue.  At this point it was packed out with hundreds of people filling the room.  A huge crowd surging forward, crammed up tight in front of the stage screaming, whistling and showing extreme amounts of excitement   This is bound to get any band performing at their absolute best, but put this aside and you still have a WOW.  They played all of the songs from their EP (which you would expect at an EP Launch I guess) along with some mind blowing covers.  Described as an acoustic, soulful three piece band, you have just that in the form of guitar (guitars at time, dropping the bass), bass and percussion.  Percussion is one of the unique selling points of this band for me, and I have never in my life seen more enthusiastic playing of a cajon and probably never will again.  How Ben will be able to use his hands for any task over the next few weeks fails me, boy can that man bang that box!  Gritty vocals that were soft and gentle, backed by light, if no percussion produced a rich and deep sound which then leapt into energetic  upbeat tracks seamlessly.   One thing I did notice is the band are fans of ending a song extremely abruptly, which at times jolts you.  They then just move into something else and all is forgotten as you are transported along on the journey with them.  At times you can hear a real rock element which blends beautifully with the gentler folk vibe from their tracks.  Their EP has obviously had a lot of time spent on it and I for one cannot wait to get my hands on a copy.  They performed just about the most lively rendition of Lets Face The Music And Dance I have ever heard, then on the flip, the most unique version of Fresh Prince of Bel-Air probably in existence.  They managed to make the track almost indistinguishable until the chorus, but at the same time as though it had been written especially for them.  The audience went absolutely crazy throughout the entire set, as though they were at some huge concert and there were rock gods on stage before them.  It was almost impossible, if not completely impossible not to be drawn in by the mix of witty banter, amazingly lovely guys and extremely talented musicians, who just gel together in a way not often seen.  I for one will be keeping a close eye on all future gigs of theirs and would like to say a huge thanks.

High Tide

High Tide

Thank you for allowing me to be part of a gig that was more than a little special, was entirely awesome and ended with me writing a simple two words  in my notes, capital letters and exclamation marked… unfortunately they are not printable, but the first word was holy and the second began with a s!

David Ellis – Black and Gold

Find band on Facebook
Download Live EP 

 

Skies – Magical

Find band on Facebook
Here their new Single 

 

The Fruit Group? – How Are You

Find band on Facebook 

 

High Tide – Rain Coat Man (not new EP track)

Find band on Facebook
High Tide on souncloud 

 

Photography provided in kind permission by Charlie Osborne (check her out and the rest of the photo’s from the gig – many more on Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/dr.char?fref=ts