A band standing like statues on stage and not interacting with the crowd defeats the object of live performance. If the band don’t put on a show while they play then the audience get nothing more for the cost of the entrance fee than they would if they stayed at home and listened to the band’s album. The atmosphere of a gig only counts for so much, without the spectacle of a group giving it everything they have a fan may as well listen to them on their iPod, in bed, where it’s cooler.
On writing the last word of the above paragraph a sudden drum roll shook the room and pulled me out of my daydream. Black Market Ratio stormed in their performance from the get go, pulling the crowd to the front and proving my point that a great set is as much, if not more, about the show as well as the music. This first impression, as great as it was, wavered as the set went on; the amount of on-stage movement was unfortunately sporadic, but for the most part they kept up their great performance and didn’t let themselves down despite the small crowd. Musically and vocally Black Market Ratio was of a high standard, though they did seem to switch their genre occasionally which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Some of their songs were a little familiar, for instance the song “Easy Woman” sounded a little like “Unskinny Bop” by Poison, but that happens more often in music than you would think. Black Market Ratio started with a band, and ended with one, they were a hell of a band.
For me gigs at The Pav Tav have mostly been an all male affair so seeing progressive rock band Prowess take to the stage with a woman at the helm was a very pleasant surprise. Prowess had a commanding presence both musically and in terms of their performance; the guitarists looked the part on stage and the bassist especially epitomised the look of the genre. The music, which featured short, sharp drum rolls and some great guitar playing, seemed to have a constant, unrelenting drive to it. Unfortunately Prowess’s music did at times drown out their vocals. Despite this problem I loved Boe as a vocalist; if she had of been male I feel their sound would have suffered, instead her higher, more serene vocals acted as a bit of sweetness atop what could easily have been the soundtrack to a particularly busy nightmare. Brilliant.
When chemical Smile started playing they shocked me. Looking at them I expected pop-punk, a calmer, more relaxed sound. Instead they proved themselves to be something a lot better; gifted musciains with catchy lyrics and vocals that at times reminded me of Joy Division, The Ramones, and The Killers. With an instantly established rapport with the crowd Chemical Smile played their way through the set with exceptional, melodic guitar playing and catchy riffs, however despite the vocalist’s obvious confidence and talents the crowd remained stiff and distant for most of the set. More fool them. The band, whose slightly rigid stances on the dimly lit stage presented an air of mystery, kept my interest for the whole of their slot, and because of that I will continue to follow them for as long as I can.
Next week is A Day At The Dogs/ Polaris Condition/ The Masts/ and Monsterface.
Originally published here: http://www.bn1magazine.co.uk/music/reviews/394-live-music-review–pav-tav