|LostAlone/Verses/The First/One Way Street - York, Fibbers - 15th April 2014|
|Written by Ben Hughes|
|Friday, 25 April 2014 03:00|
I had to queue to get in to Fibbers tonight, can't remember the last time I had to do that. Okay, so I was there earlier than usual, but there are more people here for the first of the four bands on the bill tonight than I have seen at most of the gigs I have been to so far this year, which sure is a good sign. Four bands for nine quid on the door, that's not a bad deal really, especially when the headliners happen to be LostAlone, one of the UK's most exciting and upcoming live bands. I saw them supporting The Darkness before Christmas, and great as they were I have been looking forward ever since to catch them at a headline show of their own.
First up though tonight we have three bands I am unfamiliar with, even a Google search results in not a lot, type in any of those three band names and see what you get. But on first and to a warm reception are local teenage three-piece One Way Street who play jangly guitar pop. Led by young Jack Black lookalike Zak Raughton, whose nasally vocals blend well with the simple and quite catchy Indie Rock tunes. More than ably backed by nice tribal beats from dread-headed drummer Jake (who also bears an uncanny resemblance to Jack Black) and bassist Tarryn (who luckily for her doesnt!) their upbeat set is a good warm up actually, more decent local talent to watch in the future.
Up next are Cambridge band The First who, sound-wise, straddle the lines between Young Guns and Mallory Knox. I had to laugh during their set to tell you the truth, you see, this band bought with them their own soundman and a roadie with his own flashlight and everything, who seemed to make a big point of motioning to the soundman to change the sound levels. Which didn't really work as the guitarist with the problem resorted to telling the soundman himself using the singer's mic. Oh, but he did have his uses, running on and taping up a dodgy mic mid-song gave added comedy value yes, I'm sure they rehearsed that well, but I digress, let's move on to the band. The guys have the right haircuts and the right moves, but do they have the songs? I'm not too convinced. While they were energetic and engaging, with some nice and full anthemic sounding backing vocals, they seem to lack memorable hooks to be honest. Sounding to me like LostProphets (are we allowed to mention them any more or have they been erased from rock history?) meets The Crave. Vocalist Benny Salter leads his band through a well received set: yes, they are tight and have some sweet, sonic boom bass lines going on, but they sound no different to a million other bands on Kerrang! TV these days. Not really my cup of tea, but, hey, I'm not a teenage rock fan.
By now I'm pretty ready for the headliners to be honest, but there is another band to check out first. Musically, Brighton-based Verses tread a similar path to The First and even though they've gone for the more geeky, student look the songs are overly more convincing. Upbeat and happy sounding tunes go a long way to keep me watching, as does vocalist Jason's enthusiasm, ability to work a crowd and just his happy smiling face to be honest. It may well be worth checking out their soon to be released debut album.
Put as many warm up bands on the bill as you like, but LostAlone were always going to be victorious tonight. As drummer Mark Gibson sets up his own kit from scratch, intense concentration on his face, with not a flashlight wielding roadie in sight, it's plain to see that LostAlone are a big league band who still play in the small league: why are they not massive yet? Their time will surely come soon.
On a different level right from the start, diminutive blue haired frontman Steven Battelle is a bounding ball of energy, throwing all the rock star shapes possible and never standing still as they launch straight into recent single 'The Bells! The Bells!!'. Sure, live they don't have those trademark layered harmony vocals to rely on but in a live environment it's plain to see they don't need to rely on them, they have energy and pure, raw rock power on their side.
By the middle of second song 'Do You Get What You Pray For?' the singer gives his guitar to the crowd as he then scales the barrier and proceeds to play the rest of the song in the audience down the front. Mouthing the lyrics to the surprised and ecstatic teenagers that surround him as they mouth the same words back leaving his band mates to do the business back on stage. Leaving his guitar again in the precious care of a crowd member, he takes a run and jumps over the barrier head first. Regaining control of his guitar the band proceed to finish the song without missing a note, tight as fuck and from that moment the night is theirs for the taking.
New album 'Shapes Of Screams' may not be as immediate as its predecessor, but it's definitely a grower and with a week of constant playing on my stereo in preparation for tonight these songs are firmly imbedded in my brain. Standing out tonight is 'G.U.I.L.T.Y', my favourite track at the moment, with its catchy chant of a chorus, it's got to be a future live favourite. The frankly awesome and anthemic 'Hostages' brings a 'Radio Ga-Ga' feel to the show with Battelle motioning fist-pumping action in the chorus, which we all respond to, it's a pretty awe inspiring song to be honest. I remember this song standing out at The Darkness show and tonight it impresses even more so, a future hit single surely?
As Steven straps on his bizarre SG/one string hybrid thing for 'Crusaders', the opening track of the new album, I take the opportunity to get a few snaps of that instrument and as the chorus comes I am hit with the realisation that this band now have more anthems to their name than I realised.
The singer works the crowd well, an engaging and energetic frontman, he gets the crowd to sing a lot of the choruses for him and motions for hands in the air, with all he does you sometimes forget how important and tight the rhythm section are. Bassist Alan Williamson, a mass of straggling black hair covering his face, and drummer Mark Gibson are as energetic as the frontman, they have to be they keep the flow as the singer does the wild stuff.
Every night on this tour the singer picks four or five fans from the front to join the band on stage for extended crowd favourite 'Love Will Eat You Alive'. The lucky girls picked tonight look to be in their element and do a great job of singing the chorus for the singer as he sticks to the riffs and smiles.
They played for an hour, they could've easily played for longer, but we couldn't really ask for any more tonight. We've been entertained and rocked by a band that give their all live. As I write these words 'Shapes Of Screams' is still filling my ears and it's going to be up there in the albums of the year list for sure. Tonight's gig will also be up there and if you've missed them on this tour then you really are missing out, awesome stuff.