Friday, 26 September 2008

Iglu & Hartly/Nick Harrison/Two Door Cinema Club @ The Sugarmill, Hanley. September 24th.

Review By Steve Dean

Photo by Simon Bamford

Having not been out and about to many gigs of late due to other pressures, it was a great pleasure to see three very different, but equally entertaining bands at the Sugarmill last Wednesday evening.

Two Door Cinema Club, hailing from Bangor in Northern Ireland, apart from other musical factors, are a little different in that they have no drummer; the percussion provided via a Macintosh computer. It certainly sounds adequate, although personally I don’t think you can beat a real drummer, but the times, I suppose, are a’changing. Their music is lively and heartfelt, with some passionate vocals from main vox Alex (no surnames on myspace profile) and in places they put me vaguely in mind of an updated U2, except with a different guitar sound; albeit still an echoing one. They have some good strong material and I particularly liked ‘Undercover Martyn’ with its neat guitar line. In fact, I couldn’t fault the musicianship throughout their set and the noisy reception from the Sugarmill crowd confirmed their appeal. A currently unsigned band, they show very great promise.

Recently signed to A&M records, Nick Harrison and his companions; a constantly smiling Naz on bass and Toby Couling on drums, look like they have a big future. He makes a fair list of influences on his myspace profile, but the biggest one by far has to be the reggae-ish, chopping ideals of The Police, a band his overall sound has been borrowed heavily from; but that’s not saying it’s a bad thing. In fact, Toby Couling’s drumming style is so close to Stewart Copeland’s, he could have been tutored by the man himself. Singer and guitarist Nick comes across as a likeable, confident character and his talent as a songwriter is undoubted. His current single ‘Oi, Rude Boy’ has instant appeal and I liked the summery harmonies in ‘Honey’, although I have to say that the track that had the most immediate appeal for me was the jazzy ‘Everything’s alright’; although ‘Something Special’ stood out as well. Tight and well-rehearsed, they play like they are having the time of their lives; a fact well-appreciated by the loudly clamouring audience.

Talking of clamouring audiences, Hollywood band Iglu & Hartly had the audience screaming, yelling, bouncing and crowd-surfing from the very first note. In fact, the screaming began when Jarvis Anderson, one of two frontmen, the other being fellow keysman Sam Martin, carried on his keyboard stand about 10 minutes before the band actually started. Opening with the pounding ‘Violent and Young’, this outfit knows where its appeal lies and there was a faint aura of the Chippendales as the two singers strutted around the stage, reaching out enthusiastically to the eager audience to clasp as many of the sea of hands as they could before pulling away to leap onto the speakers or generally just leap. Bassist Michael Boucher’s massive grin never once left his face, while guitarist Simon Katz and drummer Luis R., whilst concentrating on their instruments, still added as much to the physical bumpings and grindings as they could. Unashamedly pop with a rapping edge, they have some great commercial material and their new single ‘In This City’ had practically everybody singing along. ‘Pop’ they may be, but they have the musical punch of a heavy rock band and the crowd’s frantic dancing bore joy-filled testimony to that. Playing two encores, the crowd, at Jarvis’s invitation, invaded the stage for the last song and the venue filled with an immense vibe of sheer unadulterated fun as band and crowd melded in wholesale celebration. In fact, ‘fun’ and ‘celebration’ sum up the whole evening.

I enjoyed myself immensely. A great night.

Two Doors Cinema Club  
Nick Harrison        
Iglu and Hartly     

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