Mini Mansions - The Portland
Read an interview with Michael Shuman here

Having been a fan of Queens of the Stone Age for many years, the idea of seeing two members in the intimate Portland Arms was a show that couldn't be missed. Mini Mansions are nothing like QotSA musically but their live show has the same Rock n Roll energy.

Michael Shuman is a fantastic front man having spent years sharing a stage with Josh Homme and his guitar chops are just as strong as his bass playing capabilities when he's performing with the desert rock giants.

Equally fantastic were the keyboard and synthesiser sounds created by Tyler Parkford, a touring member of the Arctic Monkeys, and the funky bass lines performed by Zach Dawes of The Last Shadow Puppets. Mini Mansions are a brilliant blend of musical talents from across the musical spectrum and even greater to witness in such a small space.

Perhaps the greatest treat on this tour was the announcement that Jon Theodore would be behind the kit as a touring member. Theodore put his own spin on the songs, adding jaw-dropping fills into each song and giving them a new sense of urgency not found on their studio versions.

With a new album 'Guy walks into a bar' on the horizon, Mini Mansions were keen to show off the new songs as well as their new, more danceable vibe. Recent single 'Bad Things (That Make You Feel Good)' had the whole crowd bouncing to its synthesiser led hook while 'Vertigo' from their last studio effort 'The Great Pretender' saw a psychedelic wave run all the way through the venue as well as a rather good Alex Turner impression by Shuman to sing the former's featured verse.

The show ended in a cacophony of guitar solos and thrashing drums before a reprise of the head-nodding grooves of the verse of 'GummyBear'. A smooth and classy end to the show which was a breath of fresh air having seen so many bands choose to end their set with a truck load of amp feedback.

Where many of the gigs I enjoy going to I find myself moshing and coming out with a couple of bruises, this one simply made me smile throughout while I appreciated the calibre of the musicians on the stage in front of me.

Words Ryan Bird
Pix from an earlier gig by Laurine Payet
More here