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Phosphate Live @ The Victoria – 2nd August 2014

As seen as I had driven all of the way to Derby in the name of live music I thought I might as well give you two reviews for the price of one.

You might remember that a few months ago I reviewed Phosphate’s debut EP and I was quite encouraged by what I heard. Yes, it was a bit rough around the edges but I thought there was some potential there. So when the opportunity arose for me to see if this recorded promise translated into the live arena it wasn’t one that I was about to miss. The results, I have to say, were mixed.

The band kicked off their set with one of their newer tracks, something which I always think is a little brave but there’s nothing wrong with taking a risk. And it’s a risk that paid off, as ‘Let Me Go’ is a great track. It sounded heavier than many of the songs from the EP but as regular readers know heavy is more than fine with me. I always like bands to come flying out of the blocks and Phosphate do exactly that here as drummer Bates smashes the track forwards with incredible energy.

Next up is the first of four covers and a rendition of Blur’s ‘Song 2.’ The track itself was fine but that’s all it was. As everyone knows the original is full throttle and packed with a ridiculous level of energy but here it sort of falls flat. The band are pretty static on stage and apart from Bates which I have already mentioned they don’t exude bundles of energy so although from a purely music based standpoint the cover is perfectly fine, as a performance it doesn’t quite hit the heights that maybe it should.

We are then back to originals as the bizarre ‘Document 1’ sparks into life. I commented when I reviewed the bands EP that this track didn’t make any sense and it still doesn’t, however it’s a good bit of fun and the guitar solo that rips through it is very good. Plus the highlight of the entire was just around the corner in the form of ‘Break My Soul.’ I’d be lying if I told you that it was the most uplifting of songs but this of course doesn’t stop it from being brilliant. The deep guitar riff slams off the walls with vicious intent meaning that this track remains a firm personal favourite.

Another couple of coves follow and as good as they are personally I would still like to hear more of the bands own material as this now makes it three covers so far and there is still one more to come. That being said the actual covers themselves were fine. Both ‘Buddy Holly’ by Weezer and ‘Big Me’ from Foo Fighters were performed well although I would still like to have seen a bit more animation from the band on stage.

‘Blind’ (Another track from the band’s debut) gives the lads an opportunity to show a bit of their versatility as this tune is unlike anything else that they performed on the night. It’s slower for a start and the heavy blues influence which runs all the way through the track is a nice bit of variation from the straight hard rock which has made up the rest of the set. ‘Haunted’ was another new track but this one had a slightly more upbeat feel and the group vocal which runs through the chorus has a hint of classic rock and roll about it.

The next track ‘Jenny’ was proceeded by a slightly strange drug/sock anecdote which although did explain the origins of the track did hamper the flow of the set a little bit. That being said the song itself is very good and went down well with the audience. The last of the band’s own material was another new tune called ‘Treacle.’ The track has a real classic rock feel, with more good guitar work. Much of the bands new material seems to be rockier than the songs from their debut so it may be that there is a slight change of musical direction afoot when recording commences next time around.

The bands set comes to a close with a cover of Pearl Jam’s ‘Even Flow.’ I am a big Pearl Jam fan so I was glad to hear the guys really do it justice, and I think it was a really good way to bow out for the evening.

As with their recordings Phosphate are still very rough around the edges. Personally I think that they need to do more on stage and that four covers in one set was too many. There was also at least one false start to one of the tracks in the set and mistakes like that will need to be ironed out before the band can start to move up the bill. (They opened on the night) However there were still positives to be had. The musicianship was good and in the main their own material did go down well with a live audience. This was a decent set overall but there is still plenty to work on.

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