Building Pictures, Kami Kids, Colly Strings, Matt McCafferty
As a rule of thumb, each act on the bill for a concert will normally share a mutual genre or sound that make the appeal all the more alluring for a particular demographic. Tonight couldn't be further from the norm, as we got the chance to witness four acts of varying persuasions.
We are gently eased into the evening's entertainment by singer songwriter Matt McCafferty. The sentimental acoustic crooning is a touch on the innocuous side, but it is McCafferty's vivid lyrical sensibilities that really make the listener sit up and take notice, particularly on "My Greatest Weakness".
The evening begins to pick up steam once newcomers Colly Strings take to the stage, who provide the crowd with a sizeable dose of loud, rhythmic alternative rock, in a similar vein as More Than Conquerors. Their stage presence is youthful, without a hint of obnoxiousness, making them pleasing to witness. Once they hit you with their triple vocal harmonies, you get a sense of their ambition and musical discipline.
Colly Strings will surely fit well into the local rock scene, where angular, stop-start guitar work has become somewhat of a staple sound for a lot of groups. However, there exists the danger of becoming lost amongst the waves of similar bands that have popped up in recent times. It's early days yet, but it will be interesting to see how the Down 4-piece differentiates themselves from the rest of the herd, and assert their potential as a major pull.
Next up is Kami Kids, who put an electronic twist onto proceedings.
The mix seems to be a bit out of sorts, as the synth finds itself smothered by distorted guitar, and as such doesn't display the band's capabilities to the fullest. Nevertheless the band deliver a high paced show, much to the crowds pleasure. The body language of vocalist Ashleigh Craig would suggest she is rather nervous, but begins to loosen upon the healthy response from the crowd.
To contrast a rather vibrant set, the band finish off with the spacious and atmospheric "North Star" gently bringing their slot to a satisfying close, as the reverb soaked hooks drift through the room like a cool breeze.
John Gribbin, under his alias, Building Pictures, finishes the evening in highly refined style, backed with the welcome addition of bass and cello. A peculiar act to finish off an evening of varied musical offerings, but the whole set is met with utter adulation, much to the singer's delight.
No doubt, the acoustic singer-songwriter path has been walked many times before, but Gribbin brims with such originality that he makes the genre seem fresh again. Tracks like "Closing Doors" and "I Already Know", both written in New York City, boldly suggest the singer songwriter's whimsical yearning for love, travel and discovery. The cello helps to accentuate the pastoral slumber of the music, while adventurous bass guitar acts as a pulse that helps bring each song to life.
These songs don't grab your attention; they earn it. These finely tailored tunes glimmer with a nostalgic sheen, and the crowd give each one the respect they deserve by absorbing every note in silent admiration, only breaking the silence to issue rapturous praise, when the time allows for it.
Words: Chris Johnson
Photos: Richard Skinner - www.lemonrouge.com