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The Dark Eyes Live @ The Secret Venue – 3rd July 2013

It’s amazing where the promise of a free diet coke will take you on Tuesday evening. In this case I ended up taking in some live music somewhere called The Secret Venue. A venue so secret that, despite having lived in the area all my life, I didn’t even know existed.

Anyway if you saw my last review of the band you will know that I rate them highly and it would be well worth my time to go and check them out. It may have only been a jam night but the chance to go and see some great up and coming local talent like The Dark Eyes should not be missed.

Because of the structure of the night and the number of acts this was far from a regular gig. The set for The Dark Eyes was split into 3 parts. The 1st 2 parts were almost used as tasters, in part 1 the band did a couple of covers, and in part 2 they did a couple of originals. Part 3 was the main part of the set and the band played for just under half an hour.

As this was the now the 2nd time I was going to see the band I had a good idea of what to expect but I was also interested to see how they had progressed.

The first couple of songs we got to hear early on in the night were Queen covers with a high energy ‘Tie Your Mother Down’ running straight into ‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love.’ Getting things going with a couple of crowd-pleasing covers was a good move, the audience totally brought into it and there was a healthy buzz around the room, a good night was in prospect.

Preview set number 2 was again only a couple of songs but this time they were originals. These were ‘Tease Me’ and ‘Boogie.’ ‘Boogie’ was especially standout, picture a classic rock n’ roll 1960’s style intro amped up and beefed out. This was rock n’ roll 2013 style. The band then once again went off for a bit but we had been promised at least another 20 minute performance to finish.

When the band returned to the stage what followed was a polished, hard hitting array original songs and unlikely cover versions, which reverberated around the small intimate venue. The band threw straight into a version of 20th Century Boy, killer riffs and all. It seems the performance I saw a few months ago was no fluke. I also got to hear my favourite original track ‘The Ringleader.’ It’s heavier than a lot of their other songs but personally I think that sound really suits them. As the set rattled towards a conclusion bassist Luke switched to lead vocal duties for ‘I Predict A Riot.’

Just before the last 2 songs we were treated to what I think people call ‘creative’ differences as the band couldn’t decide what songs to finish with. After a conversation which looked like a group of mates arguing over the last Haribo, and with the odd suggestion from the audience thrown in for good measure they put their own spin ‘You’re the One That I Want’ from Grease and the Fratelli sounding original ‘I Try My Best.’

Since I last saw the band they have definitely grown. As you would expect they are now a lot tighter, everyone perfectly in sync, with drummer Jak holding everything together perfectly. Luke was still Luke, big bass riffs and even bigger hair. It was also evident that Jordan has now really grown into his role as frontman, and is now taking charge on stage and driving the band forward. But the biggest improvement has been in keyboard player and backing vocalist Charlotte, she has an increased level of confidence and is starting to develop a much bigger stage presence and this I think is starting to pay dividends for the band as a whole.

It may have been a stop/start night but we were treated to some brilliant music from some young talented Black Country based artists. Joe Parks will be one to keep an eye on for the future, and look out for my link up with heavy rock band Face Of A Stranger coming soon. But the night belonged to The Dark Eyes. They showed they are definitely a band on the move, and with a bit of luck big things could lie ahead.

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