So the first night of the first Rock Of Ages has happened and a mixed bag it was – but not when it came to the quality of the bands!
First on the bill were new band About An Hour, playing only their second public show.
After last Sunday’s great set at Barbados, the band fired on all cylinders from the start tonight with their cover of ‘Maniac’ from the film Flashdance starting the night on an upbeat bang.
Unfortunately the crowd were less energetic with only a few getting moving, and all sticking to the shadows, surely giving the band the impression they were playing to no one!
Despite this About An Hour played a great set of their unique mix of pop, rock and punk, with the whole band working very well together and clearly enjoying themselves, and front man Danny Pheonix was on the best form I’ve seen since the Third Time Lucky come back show over a year ago.
Second up were Brit-rockers Stratosfear who had drawn a few extra into the venue, but still the audience remained firmly in the shadows around the side of the room.
The band played on undeterred and launched through a mix of covers and original tunes taken from their forthcoming CD. As ever the band sounded like a slice of 90s British rock with more than a hint of the 1960s and 70s sound that inspired them.
With their originals standing out over the covers I got the distinct impression they should do what a lot of local bands do and focus on the original material as once again ‘Waste Of A Good Weekend’ and ‘I’ve Got Nothing, You’ve Got It All’ really stood out as the sets highlights – and the addition of a second guitarist has really developed their sound in a good way.
The punk spirit continued next but with more of an American influence with 2 Minutes 2 Late who, much like Stratosfear, mixed up covers and originals and again sounded better on the original tunes than the covers.
The main problem 2 Minutes 2 Late had tonight, and that they often have at shows, is their over apologetic nature, which, while very polite, gives the impression that they are less than confident in their abilities – something they should not be, as they uniformly play entertaining sets of dance and sing-a-long pop punk.
Again though during 2 Minutes 2 Late, despite a decent crowd having now showed up they still remained firmly toward the back and sides of the room for the most part causing the band to clearly have difficulty connecting to their audience.
This all changed though when Teaspoonriverneck took to the stage as suddenly there was a line of people ready to rock out along the front of the stage.
Starting out with now minor-classic ‘Thanatoid Ripsnorter’ they had the crowd with them all the way with most singing along to the band’s older material and clearly getting into the new stuff.
The band debuted several new numbers tonight which showed that once again they are refusing to stand still with ‘Saw The Low’ and ‘Sundial’ increasing the bands psychedelic rock edge and ‘Hunting’ turning things on there head and almost sounding like an indie-rock song – albeit still with that unique Teaspoonriverneck something.
With two encores of ‘Eaten By The Devil’ and the seldom played ‘Blonde Witch’ whipping the crowd into a moshing, headbanging frenzy they closed the night on a real high and set a standard for the second night's bands.