Bloxx bring their grunge infused indie pop to Phase One and Getintothis’ Steven Doherty is there to check out the new kids on the block(s).
A noticeable and welcome trend that seems to enveloped the local scene recently is the four band bill.
Two local bands, the tour support and the headliners. This gives far more value for money and local bands a prestigious quotable support slot. Even if you don’t like them, it all just works out a couple of quid (if that) per band.
Now, the only problem with that, it seems, is that the local bands end up talking to their mates instead of the paying public, sad to say this is very much in evidence tonight.
A band that needs to stop playing up to just their friends and get out into the wider world are Courting.
The singer needs to gain some microphone control as he is unintelligible for most of the set, and as it goes on, you wonder whether the half hour support slot is what they need at this point in their short career.
They obviously lack faith in (or don’t have enough of) their own material as they play two covers (Weezer and The Cure) mid-set within a couple of songs of each other, never a good sign.
When they do get it right though it really works, there’s an interesting sparse vocal to be enjoyed, especially on their single Parking Spaces.
Also falling into the ‘bring your own crowd’ trap are the next local band up.
“We’re Rivia and we are here to party“.
Party they try to do, but are hamstrung by a lack of tune.
They are retro, but not quite retro enough, sounding like a poodle-haired Nickelback, or what Bon Jovi would sound like if they suddenly turned emo. The 2000’s style rock only seems to catch fire with particular parts of the crowd and the attempts at banter also fall flat outside of their inner circle.
Another example of a band who should diversify, playing to a different audience.
Apre are the main tour support to Bloxx, but only exist as the blandest element to the evening. Matching jackets and Maroon 5-esque tunes abound here, and it soon becomes what can only be described as a pleasant set of songs, something no band should want to have.
When they rock out, it brings to mind some sort of Coldplay-lite.
It’s like trying to review a glass of water.
Bloxx thankfully step in and save the day.
With a diary full of prestigious festival slots, including Leeds/Reading, they describe this short UK tour as “the final chapter before the debut album“.
Coke sees the first instance of the crowd on each other’s shoulders, with Second Opinion and Novocaine getting the heads bobbing and the feet going.
Headspace sees the usually thrashy band veer towards Capital Radio pure straight pop, but singer Orphelia has too much of the metal-indie nouse to let that happen, dragging the band back into their grunge roots with set closer Monday.
The encore of Curtains and You sees a massive cardboard smiley face circulate round the audience, maybe encapsulating the feeling that they are happy now that the main talent has arrived.
A definite case tonight of quality over quantity.
Photographs by Getintothis’ Mark Holt.