Tracks Monkeys With Lasers

Xtra Mile Showcase @ Borderline – 25/05
December 7, 2010, 8:53 pm
Filed under: gigs | Tags: , , , , ,

This show had what was for me a fantastic lineup with The Xcerts, Straight Lines and Crazy Arm all playing who are all bands I’m a big fan of (and had all seen live previously). In addition, one of Xtra Mile’s latest signing, Fighting Fiction, were also due to play so I was intruiged to see what they had to offer.

As it turned out, it wasn’t to be a full band performance from Fighting Fiction but just an acoustic set from the lead singer, Jacob. This was a little disappointing but it was still a good set and made me want to hear more of their stuff. Their EP and newest single are up on Spotify and are well worth a listen.

Next up were Crazy Arm. I really like the record these guys put out last year but when I saw them supporting Frank Turner at the Roundhouse, I was left slightly underwhelmed with their live performance. Sadly, this show did little to change that.

Their songs are very strong but live it was just a little sloppy at times. Every now and again the timing seemed to be slightly off between the band and, for me at least, this was quite noticeable and really spoilt their performance. It’s a bit of a shame as I really do like the album but that’s twice that I’ve been disappointed with them live. Third time lucky?

After that, it was time for Straight Lines to take to the stage. I’d seen these guys only a few months previously as well when they headlined at the Camden Enterprise which was a show I really enjoyed. Here, they put on a good show again but with it not being a crowd there to seem them specifically, it wasn’t as good as before.

That said, I did enjoy their set and they even played one or two new songs from what I remember. Good band, good album and good fun live too.

Finally, it was the main act of the night in The Xcerts. I’d been lucky to catch these guys almost a year ago at Lexapalooza at the Gaff. Back then, there was only a handful of people still around to see them but they really managed to impress me. Since then, their first album had grown on me even more so I was looking forward to seeing how they’d progressed.

As it turned out, they’d come out massively since I’d seen them last. They seemed completely at ease on stage and weren’t afraid to try out something different with their tracks with a different version of ‘Home Versus Home’ working really well.

With their latest album being prepared for release around the time of this show, they showcased a few new tracks, including their latest single ‘Slackerpop’. Not many people seemed to know the track but I enjoyed it and it points to a slightly different sound on the new album from their first.

It can be a bit odd when a band plays new songs live when nobody recognises them. The band seemed to recognise this though so played the new tracks early on, leaving the rest of the set to the material everyone there knew and these sounded great. ‘Crisis In The Slow Lane’ was a particular highlight to me with the now near-capacity crowd singing along to the chorus; quite a difference from the show at the Gaff.

To finish the night, Murray came back out on stage by himself and played the beautiful ‘Aberdeen 1987’. Sadly a lot of the crowd seemed to be chatting amongst themselves at this point but the song was brilliant regardless with the crowd again singing the chorus. Murray may have forgotten the words at one point but this didn’t spoil a thing.

Altogether, it was a great night with three bands I really like playing as well as a new one for me to check out. The Xcerts were the clear standout act of the night though and I only hope these guys can continue to get better and better.

The Xcerts – Aberdeen 1987 (live)

And So I Watch You From Afar @ Borderline – 08/04
May 10, 2010, 9:08 pm
Filed under: gigs, music | Tags: , ,

This was a gig I’d almost forgotten I’d gone to actually as I’ve seen these guys so many times. As I can’t find a setlist to jog my memory, it may well be a brief review but it’s still something!

As I have already said, this is one of many ASIWYFA gigs I’ve been to over the last 18 months or so but was at another venue that I had never visited in the Borderline. Having been a busy boy that day at uni, I arrived a little bit later but turned up just in time for the set from LaFaro.

I caught LaFaro live before when they supported ASIWYFA on a previous tour at the Bull & Gate. I enjoyed their set back then and they were a band I meant to keep an eye on. I did no such thing in the end and their set at the Borderline reminded me why I held them in high regard at the time. With their debut album finally imminent, they played a great set. Playing a high energy, punk rock sound, they get the whole crowd going with some strong songs and they looked even more confident and comfortable on stage now. Definitely a band to catch if you can!

After that, it was time for And So I Watch You From Afar to take to the stage. As always, their set was made up of pure energy, volume and brilliance. Despite the number of shows I’ve seen, they always seem to impress me.

This tour was alongside the release of the Letters EP so most of the tracks from this got a live outing, with ‘D Is For Django The Bastard’ sounding great with it’s huge drum fills. The standard live tracks were all there, such as ‘If It Ain’t Broke, Break It’ and the unstoppable ‘Set Guitars To Kill’ got the crowd whipped up into a frenzy during the encore while the longer, more melodic tracks including ‘TheseRIOTSareJUSTtheBEGINNING’ and the album closer ‘Eat The City, Eat It Whole’ also sounded as good as ever.

The one thing that sets these guys apart from most bands I have seen is their on stage presence and this gig was no exception. The normal moves of jumping around stage, duelling guitars and runs into the crowd were all there again. The one that sticks out the most though was when Tony went into the crowd and gave his guitar to a stunned member of the audience to play which was a very cool touch.

This may not have been the best show I’ve seen from these boys; that title still goes to the show with Maybeshewill at the Good Ship. However, it’s always great to see them live and they always offer something a little different each time.

I’m just glad I finally remembered to take my earplugs this time..

And So I Watch You From Afar – D Is For Django The Bastard (live)

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