GIG REVIEW: Live Music @ The Pav Tav, September 22nd

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Ask a local and they’ll tell you that Brighton is a magical place, a place where you can be yourself without worrying that it’s the wrong thing.

Musically it’s a Mecca, with the famous Brighton Institute of Modern Music, DJs in crowded nightclubs pressing play on their MacBooks, and tone-deaf slags grinding to happy hard-core there really is something for everyone. Fans of rock music, and those revolted by dry ice puking dance floors, can flock to sanctuaries of good taste like The Pav Tav where last week Fly In Fly Out, Dirty Leaves, and Half crown, three bands I’d never heard before, put on one of the best nights of live music I’ve experienced in a very long time.

Beginning with a wailing guitar sound that could have easily alerted all the dogs in the area Fly In Fly Out got the night going. Easily comparable to bands like Cave In they were clearly gifted, at times playing their guitars so intricately that someone only half listening could easily have mistaken the sound for that of a piano, but let themselves down a little by not moving around and communicating with the crowd enough. Fly In Fly Out were very tight, and with a dynamic drumming whose abilities stood out quite clearly they played a set with very few flaws.

There’s a common parallel that I have begun to notice at many of the local gig I have been to and that is a lack of movement from both the audience and from the bands. It may be a question of space, or simply one of courage but rigid bands often seem to face rigid crowds, and vice versa. Bands that lead the crowd get what they play for; a moving, jumping crowd full of people having a good time. At the same time an audience like that can encourage a statue-like band. It’s all relative. Both parties need to put the work in to create the spectacle that many people go to gigs for.

Although they at first annoyed me by sound checking atop Girl From Mars, my favourite song by Downpatrick legends Ash, the next band Dirty Leaves impressed me as much as Fly In Fly Out. Though they were not as tight and let themselves down a bit by not entertaining the crowd between sets they were visually stronger. With a thrashing drummer and a vocalist that was clearly putting his all in Dirty Leaves, who played a rather brilliant song from their upcoming EP, had catchy songs and were exciting to watch.

Compared to many other bands that have played at The Pav Tav Half Crown were immediately different. At first what they wasn’t apparent, especially as for a moment they appeared to have their very own version of Bez from the Happy Mondays, but as their first song kicked in what they were became obvious; they were brilliant. Half Crown mixed vocal styles perfectly; their MC was exactly my favourite type of rapper, one with smart rhymes, seemingly boundless energy, and the ability to make what he does seem effortless. In total they had three vocalists, and their harmonies were fantastic. Surprisingly enough for me my highlight of the set was their cover of Pyro by Kings Of Leon. I hate Kings of Leon, I think they are one of the worst bands around at the moment, but by covering that song Half Crown demonstrated that they can effectively cross genres and still add their own edge. The cover of Pyro was, in my opinion, a hundred times better than the original. My only real problem with the band was that at times the rapping was too fast to keep up with. Half Crown are difficult to put in a box, they are one of the best local bands I have heard (proven by the fact the crowd begged for The Pav Tav’s first encore) and easily deserve a whole one.

Next week at The Pav Tav will be Odd Red War Scars, Rosales, Caboose, and State Your Name.

Originally published here: http://sqmagazine.co.uk/2011/09/gig-review-live-music-the-pav-tav-september-22nd/

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