Kasper Rosa, Verse Chorus Verse @ The Stiff kitten, 9th March
After spending a few months by himself, Tony Wright, a.k.a. Verse Chorus Verse has decided that the stage is a lonely place and gathered a few likeminded souls to accompany him.
Joining him after opener ‘When The Rain Stops Falling’, an uptempo number in the style of Rodriguez, this former quiet man with a tenderly strong voice demonstrates how the previously bare material being rounded out by the supporting cast. ‘One Fine Day’ now has the solid rhythm of a march, and ‘The Accused’ stabs and jars, and our front-man, perhaps sensing strength in numbers, now has the confidence to deal with well-meaning hecklers. ‘You Can’t Win Back Your Freedom If You’ve Never Been Free At All’ is a rollicking protest song, but closing number ‘Big Red Van’ is the show-stealer.
It’s stripped down American rock, spat out and beat out with an aggression that shows that, although he may have ditched the electric for acoustic, Tony still likes a bit of head-banging. It’ll be entertaining to watch how he reconciles the two ends of the spectrum.
Ah, Kasper Rosa. Such a lovely bunch of lads – nice guys, hard-working, talented, probably kind to animals and little old ladies. Unfortunately for them, this is not entirely their evening. Tonight is a pop-up gig, announced only a few days in advance and the venue not until the day before. This means that they’ve been unable to put that work ethic to use in mobilising their fan base, and so the crowd is a little disappointing. Add in technical problems besetting them for the opening part of the performance and it’s not a good beginning, robbing them of the momentum that they need to build up.
When they’re at their best, as they are for the likes of ‘Scaling Mount Improbable’ they’re able to slowly build the power of a song and, in the cliché, take the listener on a journey, but the disruptions to their flow mean that it’s hard to sustain this from one song to another.‘Coronal Mass Ejection’ is as unwieldy as it’s name suggests, seemingly all band members doing their own thing and a semi-coherent song emerging somehow, and ‘First Breath, First Blood; gives vent to their darker and more aggressive side, topped with almost detached vocals.
It’s clear what their intention is or should be – to present one extended suite of interconnected music, essentially a set without a complete stop in it, to draw the audience in and take it with them, in the style of Godspeed! You Black Emperor or Sigur Ros, but that will have to be at some point in the future as circumstances mean they have neither the equipment nor the audience for that tonight.