Frantic publicity, radio plugs and much anticipation from music fans of the region, the "Teenage Kicks" gig rolled into the Corn Exchange last night. As we pull up the queue stretches round the venue and the opportunistic Lindas nephew busks to the crowd whilst they file in.
First up is David Potts and his 4 piece band. These guys were pros, and the Vox driven 60s pop guitar and keyboard, mixed with solid beats, and perfect harmonies produce a great sound. A rousing rendition of his latest single "I am the greatest" brought the packed crowd to life. Shaking off his "ex Monaco tag" has not been easy, but with a new album out and 60,s Indie pop sound like this, David Potts is well on his way !.
Enter Pilots of the Sixth, three guitars and drummer with no bass makes an unusual combination, but they pulled it off. Confident and edgy the music is developing and they have some well crafted songs, "No one really cares" was a highlight, not overawed by the night, these guys entertained. The lights go down and then we have "This is My Honesty", not having seen them before, it was a pleasant surprise to see that live, they not only match the promise of their EP but they have a great Marshal fuelled power pop sound with some soaring melodies. The best response of the night so far saw lots of action down the front and a stirring set. A quick change of pace sees an unscheduled acoustic appearance from local boy "James Page". Alone on the huge stage with just a guitar, he played the crowd, driving acoustic, quirky charm, rough but structured melody, James page is someone to watch. His song "Small Town" hits the spot and it seems that this night continues to throw up some real local talent.
And so to the eagerly awaited entrance of the hugely popular Lindas Nephew, The foyer area empties and there is a rush of teenage girls to the front. Having seen them play before, it was great to see that there keyboard, synth, guitar indie/Pop mix lost nothing in translation to the huge stage. Lindas Nephew are unique, uncomplicated and they make refreshingly different music. Driving base, solid drums mixed with electronic samples and keyboards held together by the vocal talents of the lead singer, they don't disappoint. The crowd love them and the singer even attempts a "Bono" type mounting of the PA stack which, he thankfully, achieves unscathed. The "mosh pit" is full and a good time is had by all.
The Sixth act of the night sees the impressive "Rosalita" from Ipswich take the stage. Hotly tipped by many, as "the next big thing", it was time to see if the hype had substance!. From the opening bars of the first song it was clear that Rosalita were about to steal the show. The front man saunters on the stage as if he were playing to his friends, a mass of hair, laid back energy and style "sunglasses and swagger", all the attributes of an outstanding front man. There sound is powerful, with a quirky keyboard sound, offset by some of the best guitar, bass and tight drum sounds of the night. They have songs titled "Manga Girl", Bingo Brawl and Pop Tart all delivered in an original yet hugely commercial indie/rock style. On this showing Rosalita can hold there own with the best of the crop and the next time they appear at the Corn Exchange it might just be on one of the "NME next big thing tours". Only time will tell but they have what it takes.
The penultimate band of the night sees the "MoonJets" take the stage. Immaculate image a blaze of red shirts black ties and sixties cool. These guys really looked the part, and from the outset, they have the sixties, guitar and R&B influenced harmonic vocal sound that sets them apart from most indie bands. The front man has the Weller look and the Lennon style, Gibson SG combined with the cutting grinding edge of the Telecaster mixes well with some great bass hooks and solid classic drums. They run through a fine set with the highlight "Indie Girl" there new single which pleased the crowd and they finish in frenzy with the crowd screaming for more. The MoonJets have a unique sound and style which sets them apart.
Now to the final band of this unique celebration of Unsigned Independent bands hosted in memory of local musician and raising funds for the Multiple Sclerosis therapy centre. Autons headline the night as special guests. They had much pre show publicity with local press interest high, in this three piece from Portsmouth. Autons have a tough slot and many of the youngest crowd are off catching the last bus home. But what they missed is a real high point of the show. Keyboard, Electronics, the wildest and meanest guitar sound of the night mixed and finely blended together. A stunning, dark visual presence and style this is strange, yet hypnotising music. Perhaps not for the pop mainstream, but there single "Snakes" hisses and spits from the speakers and is a fitting highlight to the evening. They made lots of new fans in Cambridge, I am sure we will see them return soon. Watch out for the Autons!
So the night ends eight bands for £7.00 and an event that captures the spirit of unsigned music and entertains a crowd of all ages. A truly "eclectic mix" of sounds and styles and a night the fans and bands won't forget. Approaching 800 fans turn out on a cold January night, the future of live music is boosted, money will be raised for charity and the crowd go home on a high.