In Case Of Fire, A Plastic Rose, Axis Of
Although not always appreciated, the true mark of a class act is not how they perform in sold-out venues or on high pressure occasions, but how they cope with the more difficult, poorly attended gigs. Unfortunately, this was such a night in the Black Box, and neither the strong line up nor excellent cause could tempt the crowd the event deserved. Nevertheless, the three bands on show proved their worth with excellent, professional performances.
That there were only a few people in the Black Box was probably not even noticed by opening act Axis Of. Between manically propelling themselves around the stage and screaming into the microphones, front-men Ewan and Niall couldn't have been stationary for long enough to fully look around the venue. "Loud", "abrasive" and "heavy" are words that could be used to describe the trio's sound, but this may neglect the political and social awareness evident in the lyrics when you can make them out. 'Port na Spaniagh' and the unpronounceable 'Brobdingnagian' go down well with the early arrivals, and Axis Of leave the stage to a cacophony of feedback.
Being a band that thrives on crowd interaction and energy in their performances, this was a potential banana skin for A Plastic Rose. Instead, the band made their set a more intimate affair with song dedications and the occasional rally of banter between front-man Gerry Norman and the marginally larger crowd. Without really getting into full flow, the quartet gave a performance of the high and professional standard now expected of them. Boasting several single releases and more on the way, A Plastic Rose hurtled through a set littered with irresistibly catchy vocal hooks and anthemic choruses; none more so than the unforgettable 'Kids Don't Behave Like This', managing to impress the majority of their attentive audience.
After a year of UK touring and festival performances In Case of Fire take to the stage with confident and self assured approach. It's heavy, it's loud, it's fast and it forces you to take notice. The use of samplers greatly enhances the sound, but threatened to interrupt the band's flow when problems arose. Unaffected, the trio powered on with some stunning drumming from Colin, while tracks from their recent release Align the Planets went down especially well with an appreciative crowd. The barrage of guitar and drums was abated only briefly by an excellently composed song which shows the band is more than one dimensional and may indeed have been one of the best songs on the night.
An excellent gig for an excellent cause, but as happens all too often locally, a disappointing turn out took away from an otherwise great night.