Saturday, 5 March 2005

From one extreme to another

Right then. Thirteen Senses at the Nottingham Rescue Rooms.

I seem to have seen a lot of full-page adverts in the various music magazines (er, okay, Q and Word) saying that Thirteen Senses are destined for stadium stardom. I guess it's a lot to do with the fact that their sound is drenched in piano. Keane and Coldplay both use the piano, and they are massive. Thirteen Senses also use a piano, ergo they will be massive. I think the ads may even have a bunch of quotes on from journos saying that they sound like a cross between Keane and Coldplay (nobody every accused music journalists of having an original thought in their heads, eh?)


I've talked about the Rescue Rooms before. It's a nice, intimate little venue just around the corner from Rock City. A bit smokey, maybe, but I like the fact that you can stand at the back of the room, and still be within spitting distance of the band. In fact, that's more or less exactly where Lord Bargain and I stood this evening -- right on the top of the steps at the back of the venue, near the door. We turned up a little bit late and only caught the end of the second support band Alterkicks (we missed Pollen). They seemed okay. The singer was a bit out of tune, but he got better as he went on. I'm afraid they didn't make much of an impression, although the guitarist had a fantastic afro (for a skinny white guy, anyway).

After Alterkicks had cleared off their own gear (I love it when a band clear up after themselves - it's somehow so endearing), the main attraction came on. The lead singer walks on, and immediately almost disappears as he sits behind his keyboards. Hm. Not exactly dominating the stage. They're pretty good though - a decent reproduction of their album. The singer has a a lovely ethereal voice - a little bit like the guy from Mercury Rev - and they have a pretty distinctive sound: guitar all plucked rather than strummed, and lots of keyboard. There's something missing though. The album is fantastic - a real treat, but at the moment they just don't seem to have enough songs that really get the crowd moving. "Into the Fire" and "Thru the Glass" are both excellent songs and really got everybody pumping, and they have a couple of others that grab the attention ("Do No Wrong" and "The Salt Wound Routine"), but the rest are all pretty downbeat. Nothing wrong with that, but there was quite a lot of conversation going on in the audience. Maybe it's because most of us aren't all that familiar with the material yet. I was wondering as I was listening if Coldplay had the same kind of problem as they hawked "Parachutes" around in small venues (well, "Yellow" and "Shiver" are attention grabbers, and maybe "Don't Panic", but the rest are all gems that take a little bit more attention to really get to know and love, aren't they?)

They're a good band though, and they sound pretty good live. I expect they will cut the mustard when they play the festivals later on this year, and I think they have every chance of making it big.... it was a good show. £9 well spent, although my advice? The singer should shed that mullet.

Athlete on Wednesday.... I've seen them a couple of times (once at the Move festival when they were on the bill supporting R.E.M., and once at Rock City with a pre-"Run" Snow Patrol in support). The new album is good, so I'm looking forward to it.

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