SO:NI Gig Review...
Bandwagon, Sweet Taste, The Dead Presidents
SO:NI line ups these days are becoming quite predictable. Maybe it's due to a lack of suitable bands in an indie dominated city, or simply a result of the quality of the bands so frequently on the bill, who knows? What's certain is, the bands on show face an uphill task of sounding truly original in a very limited genre.
Although not strictly classic rock, tonight's openers 'The Dead Presidents' more than hold their own on tonight's bill. It's clear front-man/bassist Matt Wilson was in a Thin Lizzy tribute band- he oozes the confidence, charisma and showmanship Phil Lynott was famous for. Matt however, is his own man, and has written a strong set of songs that has recently earned the band many fans as word spreads. Tom Downey on guitar draws heavy influence from the likes of John Frusciante, transforming the performance from straight classic rock, to a more funky, soulful affair.
By mid-set however, the riffs become somewhat predictable and repetitive; but even this is only a minor criticism of an excellent set that probably merited a higher place on the bill. 'Dirty Old Town' is an excellent end to the set and could well be this band's 'Whiskey In The Jar.'
Sweet Taste do very little to dispel pre-gig perceptions. Hard rock influenced by the likes of Guns N' Roses et al leaves any band very little room to be truly original. Many of the riffs, vocal hooks, even lyrics seem like well trodden ground and this four-piece lack that killer touch to really set them apart from their influences. A reasonable response from a good crowd in Lavery's Bunker is generous as Sweet Taste fail to really make heads turn. Nevertheless, the signs are there for improvement; this is a young band, growing in confidence and experience and tonight they've done themselves no harm with a tight set and a solid performance.
With time quickly running out, Bandwagon squeeze in another memorable performance. With tonnes more experience than both tonight's support bands, this Bangor three-piece continue to churn out top class rock and roll with every gig. Edgar's playing seems much more instinctive, less mechanical than the other guitarists on show tonight, he's a proper blues guitarist in the vein of Brian Robertson (Thin Lizzy). Tonight's worthy headliners steal the show, and predictably, 'Barbara' is the real stand out song on the night. With an EP about to be released, this could be a big year for Bandwagon.