It was Friday night, the traffic into Birmingham was horrendous and I was somehow functioning (or not) on next to no sleep. Frankly it was a miracle that I was still standing at all. It has been a long week! However, if there is one thing that makes me want to battle through the tiredness and into another late night, its live music.
There was a good crowd in attendance which is always good to see and before Revolver took the stage we were treated to standout performances from Cerys Daisy (There’s a review of her latest EP coming soon) and Nishe. (You can read my review of their current single here)
I hadn’t really heard much from Revolver until last night so I was interested to see what they had got in store. A Union Jack hung from a mic stand in the darkness on stage, echoing Brit-pop gigs of years gone by and there was a real feel good atmosphere in the air.
A slow atmosphere building intro gets the band slowly and deliberately underway before the first track proper ‘Man With No Name’ skips into life. The retro image of the Brit-pop stage set up follows into this track; its melodies and guitar work hark back to those mid 90’s cigarette and alcohol fuelled glory years. The band look really at home on the stage and this is reflected in their interactions with the audience. It’s all good natured stuff as those in attendance clap along on command. ‘Sorry Sight’ follows in nicely from the opening track with the rapid fire delivery of frontman Wickett being backed up by a brilliant little guitar solo.
The following track ‘Think I’m Found’ is further proof that the band know their lane and that they are sticking to it. No fireworks and no frills this is indie rock 101. Now as much as there is a lot to be said for knowing what you’re good at and sticking to it, the flipside is that sometimes you just want the band to try something a little bit different. Having said that ‘Want It All’ has that potential to be that something different and it’s my favourite track of the night. The drum beat on the intro is fantastically forceful and the way that the central gravely guitar riff is contrasted against brilliant melody gives the track a level of real substance.
By this point the band were really into their stride and ‘Feel A Feeling,’ probably gets the best reaction of the entire set. However, the song is sold a little short by the lack of energy and movement on stage. I am not saying the band need to be dancing around like lunatics for the entire performance but unless you have the natural stage presence and ego of someone like Liam Gallagher it’s difficult to really command the stage without being animated to some degree.
The final tracks of the main part of the set again go down really well with the audience and the band continue to deliver a slick no nonsense performance. Smooth rock melodies and good quality vocals are the order of the day as the band close out what we all thought to be the end of their night with a great rock grandstand finish. However, this was all an illusion…there was more to come.
The band left the stage only to return immediately and knock out renditions of ‘Into The Fire’ and ‘Western Lights’ The latter proved to be a real crowd favourite, and resulted in some of the most flamboyant dancing I have seen at a gig in some time. There were more spins during that last track than your average Hotpoint washing machine will see in a year. The track itself is one of the bands oldest songs and brought down the curtain on the night in fine style.
Come the end of the night the audience had obviously had a good night and so had the band; and frankly that’s what this game is all about. This headline set from Revolver was probably the peak of their performing career to date and they can be very pleased with their nights work, although the pressure is now on for the band to move their live performances and their music up a level. While the tracks that were played on the night were perfectly enjoyable the set could maybe have done with a bit more variation and personally I think their actual stage show could do with a bit more energy.
I hope that I am not sounding too harsh because this was a good performance but I feel with some tweaks this good performance could become outstanding. However, as far as last night was concerned the paying punters went home happy and full of praise for what they had just seen, and no matter what critics like myself say, that counts for a hell of a lot and shows that without doubt these guys are on the right path.