ALMOST FAMOUS III, Commemoration Hall, High Street,
The Almost Famous gigs are a great and simple idea: get unsigned, local bands into a hall, let them do their stuff, let the crowd in for free. But the organisers forgot to tell the crowd to come. Some of the bands on Friday January 21 deserved a much better, much bigger crowd than they got.
Unfortunately the first band on stage wasn't one of them. To be honest, I was unsure when The Perfect Crime's set actually started. The lack of communication from the frontman left me wondering if they realised we, the small and humble crowd were there at all. The energy did get going eventually (a no-alcohol policy at the gig made sure none of us got too overexcited). But if I go to a gig, I want the bands to put on a show. These guys looked as though they were rehearsing in their dad's garage. www.theperfectcriminals.tk
The following band, Pimento, from St Ives, were the only all-girl band of the night. Sod it, in fact, the only all-girl band I've ever seen! They say their sound has become darker. Oh, indeed it has. It's a strangely non-girlie sound. Yes, they are girls, but their music puts across all the strength these girls have. If they experiment with different sounds and continue to make each song as individual as possible, Pimento may get really rather big. Check them out before they do at www.pimento-online.co.uk
Suddenly we had mature men on stage, with a much more developed sound. Gentle and smooth, here were Bonobo. The singer really was making love to the microphone like he wanted to have it's babies. The whole atmosphere got so dreamy, I went off into a daydream of my own. I came back down to earth in time to really savour the beautiful Insecurities, their penultimate song. Ok, they're not ground breakingly experimental, but they are a band I'd happily listen to whilst relaxing after a long day of writing gig reviews. Bonobo release their debut EP "Keep an Eye on Me" soon. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for a copy and info.
If it's experimentation you want and you're fed up with dissecting your sister's pet hamster, I urge you to contact the Vatican City Rebels. They kicked out with relentless energy and intoxicating tunes. The lead singer, wants to haul you up by the feet and drag you with him through these songs. Trust me, you will be grinning from ear to ear with delight. He is the magnet around which the other members subtly and skilfully perform their own vital roles. These guys are threateningly experimental, they have original guitar sounds and best of all an evil sense of humour. Why are they not signed yet?! Check out www.vaticancityrebels.co.uk and try to find a decent answer.
I was pleasantly surprised when The Fear (formerly Grace) from St Neots walked on. Not many bands would be able to pull together the dregs of the tired crowd who were left, but The Fear saw it through to the end. Maybe they were spot on when they said the night had been too diverse in musical styles. Still they were nice guys with music to get hyper to. They began recording a disc the week following the night. To get your hands on one, look out for their gigs.
Good luck to all the bands and to the organisers of the Almost Famous gigs. I understand the fourth one may happen in a year or so. Keep it up, bands and fans need these sort of events. Make it better, bands and fans deserve it.