by Paul Travis
Over 900 people packed the corn exchange to pay tribute To Tom Jones (Inkus) who died tragically as a result of a road traffic incident earlier this year. Eagerly awaited and the result of much hype and publicity, it was time to see what Teenage Kicks was really all about!
In a blaze of light and smoke 1 Mile High opened the Show and had the crowd captured from the start with a mix of traditional twin guitar power, solid rhythm and classic rock vocals. They commanded the stage and earned many new fans as they played tracks from their new EP "Altitude". The songs came alive and the size and stage of the corn exchange suited the music better and presented the raw power and tunes of the band better than as captured on the EP. 1mile high are definitely a band for the big occasion, and they didn't disappoint.
Dear Old Blighty are next, Charming, but definitely un-trendy, Dear Old Blighty pull one of the best strokes of the night by adding a cello player, who after overcoming some big stage sound problems, settled in nicely and added a haunting pop melancholy to the already well know indie guitar sound an rhythm of DOB. The set picks up a pace and the bass and drums begin to settle into a heady jaunt of jangling guitar pop with a solid beat section. The band seems to get better as the set goes on just as they are at the height of their enjoyment, the set ends and they get a warm send off. Different, tuneful, well worth a look, catch them out and about.
The Darts Club in Contrast to the previous three pieces, Darts club fill the stage with the twin guitars, bass, vocals and added bonus of the Hammond Organ. After hearing good things about the quirky dance charm of the DC,s and loving their Ramones covers, the set was eagerly awaited. At first the crowd was unsure of this indie pop fusion of guitar, nasal vocals and swirling Hammond, But out came the inflatable Cow, it bounced and surfed its way across the packed crowd, and the Darts club, burst into life. Fine guitar work, seasoned musical ability stirred the teenage crowd, with the driving organ adding extra interest. Unpretentious, indie fare, with an added twist. And then they were gone, with drummer Sarah driving off into the WElsh sunset, perhaps forever.
The Barnum Effect's Mad Dogs and Englishmen had been ringing through my head for weeks before the gig, and I was wondering if the three piece could carry off the rough, guitar grunge, wall of sound rhythm and distinctive vocals on such a large stage. Out they came, the three piece carrying off one of the best bits of PR of the night by having their emblem on the drum kit all night. The guitar sound buzzed, the bass ground hard and Ewan pounded those skins with controlled anger. The songs at times merged into a wall of sound, but highlights emerged briefly and the intensity of the trio rocked the crowd. The music is developing, the band is full of promise, Barnum Effect did not disappoint and deserved their night on this great stage.
Badwell Ash had been the firm favorites from both the peoples vote and the critics choice to play this gig, so expectations were high from this teenage trio. Physically the smallest group of the night, they played a set that filled the hall and stirred the roof of the Corn Exchange venue. The unique, twin fender guitar amp sound, combined with the hardest and meanest bass rig sound of the night, combined cleverly with perfect drum timing. Mixing a set of old and new material, Badwell Ash mesmerized the crowd. Watching from the back of the packed hall the singer played the crowd as if it were Glastonbury or Reading. When he bounced, they did, when he swayed the whole sea of people went with him. The powerful and still to fully develop vocals also added to the mix, one wonders what they will achieve, if this is the result after only a short few months together, definitely one to watch for the future.
9FoldPunch, the penultimate band of the night, and looking to continue the show with a set of punk/glam/pop showmanship. They are greeted with swoons of delight by the female fans down the front, this band loves to have a good time, and they use the stage and lights to good effect. There music is a fusion of the New York Dolls image, with early punk power, sprinkled with a youthful updated "glam image" backed by power chords and thumping drums. 9Fold play the crowd, volume up, shirts off, a rock and roll cliché, but the crowd loves them. This performance sees them at home on a great stage, and surely time to start to move from the smaller venues they have frequented in the past. On this showing 9FOLD could break to the next level, they will certainly entertain you while you wait. !
And then to AntiCage. The crowd did not know what to expect from this Afro/Czech combo. They were not disappointed as AntiCage proved to be worthy of headline status. Playing to a packed house the electro, metal charged dub sound with melody and soaring vocals had the Cambridge crowd bouncing the floor of the venue. Anticage play a mixed range of styles from dub rock fused with R&B stark metal riffs. Their vocalist is all over the stage, shaking hands with the crowd and singing strongly. Both guitarists are tight, playing a mix of lead and rhythm together with a clever use of electronic effects and classic string work. The drummer has the energy and presence of a young Keith Moon, commanding the back of the stage. Blending a unique mixture of electronics and acoustics to get a great sound that looks set to see this band win fans and influence critics. They return for an encore and Cambridge warms to these boys. A final fusion of energy, dance ability finishes off the night perfectly.
A fine array of talent, a wonderful happy crowd- Teenage Kicks captured
with great live performances at a stunning venue. For Tom Jones- Your
Spirit Lives on