If there is one thing nearly as good as the opportunity to see live bands for free, it’s the chance to see live bands for little money. Tonight, for the first time this year, my free time and original music were in sync so it was time to shell out the princely sum of £4 and venture once again into the crowded darkness of the Duchess.
Well, I say “crowded”. In actual fact, if everybody in attendance tonight had caught the same bus home, it might have been a crowded bus. If it was a single decker. And that included the members of all three bands.
Anyway, first on stage were Dressed In Their Best, a four-piece from York. Both Andy and Roj admitted to liking these youngsters but I’m afraid that they did little for me. Over-loud drumming seemed to be the mainstay of their performance. There did seem to be a few decent tunes struggling to get out from underneath both the drums and the somewhat thrashing guitar playing but, for the most part, it was just noise to me. It didn’t help that, at times, the noise seemed to change rhythm dramatically halfway through a song. I’m afraid that I caught none of the lyrics and, being brutally frank, the vocals simply weren’t up to much. (As I said, all opinions are my own and, in this case, I was in the minority.)
Which is pretty much the same situation regarding the second band, as well. I Call Shotgun are listed as being from Leeds, York and Preston and are, I think, the first “Electro/Power-pop/Disco House” band I have seen. When they started, the first thing that sprung to mind was a combination of 80s keyboard-led pop and a little bit of punk. After two, vaguely similar sounding songs, we took the decision to vacate the main performance area and sit in the slightly quieter bar so that we could talk. Which meant that, as the set went on and I felt my feet tapping along, I was getting more than a little ribbing from Andy and Roj. Despite the frequent odd noises coming from Josh Weller’s keyboards and Joe De Luca camping it up as he pranced around stage (at times looking as though he was more than a little desperate for the loo), I found that I was liking the performance more and more. After all, it’s not often you hear a young (semi-)York based band sampling Supertramp’s Breakfast in America.
Finally, on came The Telegraphs. Apparently, this Brighton-based band is generating a large amount of buzz at the moment and, because of this, they were moved up to headline act tonight. That didn’t seem to make a great deal of difference to their set, however – Andy reliably informed me that they played a full twenty-four minutes, and played just five or six songs. But what songs they were. Loud, energetic, guitar-heavy rock in the style of The Foo Fighters with melodic backing vocals (courtesy of rock-chick bassist Hattie Williams, who frequently broke her image by flashing a stunningly gorgeous smile). The Telegraphs are the best new band I’ve seen since The Mexicolas and I will be keeping an eye out for their debut album, due out in May.
Then it was time to join the crush as everybody tried to get up the exit stairs at the same time and make our way to the Roman Bath (for which “crowded” was too small a word) to catch the second half of Storm‘s act. Storm are a rock covers band (what else would you expect at the Bath) and we were treated to songs by Thin Lizzy, Coldplay, Black Sabbath, Green Day (and many more), along with way too many muscle shirts, lots of smoke and a rather impressive (for a pub) laser show. (Storm – the band that entertains and cures your short-sightedness at the same time…) A hugely entertaining end to an otherwise variable evening.