Review by Charlotte Lunt
Photo by Scott Sharman
The third heat of the Love Music, Hate Racism promised to be a guitar heavy clash of indie bands.
Well established local favourites The Setup had the dubious task of being first on tonight, which was no easy task as disappointingly the audience was a little thin on the ground. Even so, this didn’t appear to deter them as they presented a set of rounded indie rock, combining expressive melodies and harmonies. Their second song ‘Souls’ was a real ‘lighters in the air’ moment allowing singer Ivan Malin’s sonorous vocals and animated performance to draw the crowd in. This intensity continued throughout their set with each song showing a different dimension to their song writing, utilising effects and loops in the more accessible ‘Robots’ and in the bass driven ‘Live’ with it’s unpredictable melody. The final song, which I didn’t catch the name of, was a soaring track littered with breaks in rhythm and judging by the performance a favourite of the band. All in this was a solid performance, and a band I will definitely see again.
Lost Scenes may well be quite a new name on the local scene, but having seen them in their previous guise it was nice to see a set of original material from the guys. The most striking aspect to Lost Scenes is the Kelly Jones doppelganger vocals of Daryl Latham, which are almost disconcerting at times. Whilst it would be very easy for the band to exploit this and develop a generic sound, they haven’t chosen this route. Introducing ‘Illusions in Vienna’ an intense and angry song with lyrics that are spat out, followed by ‘Demons’ an anthemic track that it is easy to imagine audiences singing back at them they prove this point. Whilst their music isn’t challenging it is also not over simplified and is delivered with a confident performance by each band member. The band appeared to be happy to let the music speak for them tonight as their performance didn’t demand visual attention, but getting good feedback from the crowd it is clear that Lost Scenes have a good fan base and will undoubtedly go on to recruit more along the way.
Five-piece One Horse Race crowded the stage, looking both very thrilled to be participating in tonight’s show, and it must be said a little nervous. From the outset they put in a lively performance with frontman Rhys and guitarist Sam often vying for attention. Bantering with the audience in between songs and being the first band of the night to engage with the LMHR message behind these gigs, they clearly loved every minute of it. With punchy delivery, good use of melody and a hint of The Cure in their layered guitar riffs there is a distinct New Wave feel to their music. If points were being awarded purely for enthusiasm and effort then these guys would be scoring highly. Bravely unveiling two new songs to their attending fans they showed that they are not afraid to take risks, and whilst they had a couple of technical hitches and Rhys might not have the most melodic voice, they are clearly passionate about their music and definitely one of the more original indie bands around at the moment.
Eaton Park were the final band of the night. With a long career already under their belts they were instantly at ease and tried to coax the reluctant audience to move closer to the stage. After an instrumental introduction they progressed on to Oasis tinged lolling indie rock ‘The Lost Souls’, a tight song with clear and distinct vocals. Dedicating their next song to Stoke City, they proved they can certainly belt out a song as they delivered a mature sound. Light-heartedly checking that the audience were still giving them the attention they deserved, they asked for someone to join them on stage to play tambourine. This proved to be the most animated song of the set, as their newest member was relishing his moment in the limelight. Raising the bar with ‘Sally’ a true rock n roll number the audience started to really engage with the set and there was some hectic dancing going on behind the sound desk.
Having attended all the heats so far in this competition this for me would’ve been the hardest to judge, thankfully however I was not in this position. The judge’s deliberation went down fantastically with the audience as One Horse Race were declared as the winners.
One Horse Race