The people at Pepper are developing a bit of a reputation for putting on decent nights and Thursday was no exception
With three excellent bands, great sound from Pulse PA and an amazing light show form Wolf lighting it was clear that the pepper folks were determined that the show should be a good one.
First up was a band from up the way in Southampton, Jealous Michael. I'd been tipped the wink by young Bradley from Black Water County that they had to be seen as they'd done a gig swap and rated them. Checking the band out online provided only a few clues but from the soundcheck onwards we could see a good band on the way.
What struck me was that live, they sound much more rocky than in their recorded material (I'm not the first to say this apparently) with the bass of Bex forcing the night kicking and screaming into life and some corking drums and guitar from George and Simon (but not necessarily in that order).
So the story goes young Coco marched into the recording studio and demanded to be allowed to sing and with a fierce voice like that you can see why she was inducted into the band. As a contrast she sounds more soulful than your standard rock singer and with Georges' distinctive vox they have a markedly distinct sound. In a good way.
The 2 boy 2 girl mix worked really well and for me they look like a band that have forgotten that they should be serious and who have just decided to have a good time, an attitude that certainly seems to be paying dividends. I really enjoyed the live version of their new single, Everblue.
The good news is that as they are based just up the road there's a good chance of getting them down in the town again soon.
Second on stage were Brighton folk/rock/indie beat combo Common Tongues.
There were some seriously sick vocals emanating from these chaps who seemed not to be too put off by having locked themselves in the old vault in the back room at the winch.
Describing what they do is difficult with the guys refusing to be tied by a traditional genre or indeed song architecture. You'll get yourself some guitars and some keys with a bit of violin, drums, vox and the odd kitchen sink I dare say.
Thats not to say that we don't also get great melodies as per 'Beasts' but for me their latest single 'Solitary Thinker' is a great example of what they do with a simple kick off into a sort of poppy folk finish. The chaps also presented a brand new song that they'd just finished working on. I'm pleased to say I heard it during sound check and during the set and it was very good. So good in fact that I didn't write it down and have subsequently totally forgotten what it is called. You wouldn't get that with the NME eh?
Once again defying convention they eschewed the normal anthemic finish and ended the set with a two handed acoustic performance that proved to be a perfect end to a thought provoking set. I was left with the impression of a band who are pushing boundaries and making an effort to plow a different furrow.
Rounding off the night were the impressive headliners Goan Dogs. A band that have an encyclopaedic knowledge of motorway services (did you know Stafford has a duck pond?).
GDs do a natty line in desert folk type Americana but it's not your Bruce Springsteen crossed with Jon Bob Jovi so beloved of fellas of a certain age with a check shirt and guitar. Instead the dogs music has a level of modernity and authenticity that builds on a bedrock of quality musicianship and some outstanding harmonies. Neck hairs were tickled during the sound check.
In '20 minutes from the border' we get the full desert sound along with a Mexican trumpet and we're suddenly watching Clint Eastwood riding off into a dusty sunset.
I was interested to see how their multi layered sound transferred to a live environment and certainly wasn't disappointed. Pick of the night for me was their new single 'Running' which for me proves to be a move on in style and substance from their (not insubstantial) earlier work. It's a bit hooky and is still going round in me 'ead now.
This is a band that was slightly annoying for a reviewer who thinks he's sorted their sound only to find a new level to what they do. On the night their music scats around from one delightful track to another and I enjoyed their set more than Rio Ferdinand enjoys pinging out ever so slightly inappropriate tweets.
Jolly nice chaps too.
I'll be interested to hear what they come up with next and will certainly be looking out for them on the festival circuit because for me, they are the perfect summer event band for when you've got a pint in hand and you're lying on a grassy bank having a listen. Seems like a long time ago dunnit?
Check them out.
All in all it was a very good quality night. Thanks has to go to The Winch for providing the venue and credit to the Pepper app people for doing it all properly.
Once again we had a really well balanced evening and to see three bands of this quality on a school night has to be good.
More music on school nights I say.
Ohh BTW scroll down and you can find links to the bands sites and stuff and the full gallery of images I took during the evening.
You can find Jealous Michael;
On Facebook https://www.facebook.com/JealousMichael
Their Site http://www.jealousmichael.com
On Twitter https://twitter.com/JealousMichael
You can find Common Tongues;
On Facebook https://www.facebook.com/commontongues
Their site www.commontongues.co.uk
On Twitter https://twitter.com/CommonTongues
You can find Goan Dogs;
On Facebook https://www.facebook.com/GOANDOGSBAND
Their own site www.goandogs.com
On Twitter https://twitter.com/GOANDOGS
And of course if you like our stuff then;
follow on twitter https://twitter.com/GigsandBands
and like us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/gigsandbands
and sign up for our free newsletter
The pepper app
So then Pepper is an interesting new app that lets you follow bands and get advance notice of gigs and stuff. It looks half decent and as soon as I get a new phone I'll probably download it myself!
anyway make your own mind up by having a shuftie here
if you want to find out more about their 'Pepper presents' series then have a look on the old book of face
facebook.com/pepperpresents (there's a great gig coming up in December)
and they also have a new service for bands and venues called BackStage https://backstage.pepper.so
Right that's the end of the free advertising for Crisi and Dave. [smiley face]
No honestly go and have a look.