Normally I write my gig reviews within a day and sometimes within hours having left the venue with a clear idea of what I am going to say.
This gig was very different. I still am not sure whether I loved or hated it. Or maybe a bit of both.
The only thing that I am absolutely certain of (concerning the gig that is, I know for example that my Dad loves me) is that openers High Tide 15:47 were musically good but lacking a great vocalist. Also, that their final song antics, lying on the ground and thrashing around like they were Hendrix, was a little embarrassing the context of what had gone before; sorry it seemed planned and utterly fake, not at all spontaneous.
I was really looking forward to seeing Autobahn. I’d missed them at Beacons Festival only to be told by those who’d seen them that they’d been a highlight.
Here’s where it all gets a bit confusing for me. I love the band’s energy and commitment with ‘singer’ Craig Johnson very much leading from the front but the intensity never drops and the shouty nature of the delivery bores me a little after a while. Actually, that’s not true (see I am confused) because each song improved on the preceding one and the bands’ performance went up a notch each 3-4 minutes but as a whole I was left wishing there’d been a little more variety in pace, tone, sound!
In some ways I could level the same accusation against Eagulls, though they do have some good songs and an absolute corker in Possessed which closed their set on a high tonight. However, perhaps it was the over exuberant and distracting antics of the odd drunken mosher that caused this, but I couldn’t quite connect with the music. Indeed, whilst I’m sure most people went away from this gig having enjoyed it (actually some positively eulogised) I’m equally sure that the odd one or two would not have been able to tell you who’d been playing such was their apparent interest offset by their desire to shove and threaten fellow audience members rather than pay any attention to what was happening onstage.
This is music to get the blood flowing. Part of me loves the fact that upwards of 50 of the sell-out crowd left dripping in sweat and covered in bruises, but the part of me that wins out is the part that wants to go to a gig and engage with the music on some meaningful level. I was prevented from doing that on this occasion.
So in conclusion, I’m of the opinion that Eagulls are a good live band but on this night, in this place, with this crowd I was left slightly deflated by the whole thing.
Reviewer: Russell Poad
Photographer: Daniel Robson