MySpace Valentine’s Party – 17 February 2007

Last night we trekked over to Bath for the MySpace Valentine’s Party. This is a concept for musicians who have met through MySpace to play together. I have to say it’s a great concept and a great way to see new local acts!

When we arrived the main room hadn’t started so we headed downstairs to the acoustic lounge to see some of the more laid-back acts that were playing. The music down here was hosted by Dizzi Drummer, a girl who had just the right amount of energy and enthusiasm for her job!

First up were The Great Admirers, a mish-mash of players and singers, I couldn’t quite work out what they wanted from their music. They had a guy playing who is very blues orientated (I’ve seen him play on his own several time before) 2 more guitar players, who were also backing singers, a female backing singer and the front man who was a bit too old-school punk for an acoustic set. To be honest I didn’t enjoy their music and was pleasantly relieved when I realised their set was limited to 3 songs. I think this is a band that needs to reduce numbers and stop doing acoustic and try operating as a proper punk band…they stand a chance that way.

Next up Dizzi Drummer did a set on her Dulcimer…a beautiful medieval sounding instrument. Maybe not what you’d expect at an acoustic evening with rock bands playing the other stage, but somehow it worked. She only played 2 pieces but I could have sat and listened to much more of this beautiful sound.

Next up was Tessa Bickers, she had a good sound and good songs but I wasn’t hooked. For me she was background music. I wouldn’t rush out and buy her album and I wouldn’t make a point of going to a gig just for her. Saying that though, I wouldn’t not go to a gig if she was playing.

Anna Parry of Parry:Matthews was next up doing a short set, I’ve seen Anna play acoustically a few times and she really does have a great voice. She didn’t disappoint with the few songs she played on this set either. Following her was fellow Parry:Matthews band mate and a favourite of mine Rob Phillips, Rob has one of those amazing voices that is a rare commodity, gritty yet heartfelt. He played one of his own songs Freedom which I absolutely love and a Nirvana cover which he does so well!

After this we headed to the main stage, unfortunately we had missed the first few bands but got there just in time to see Tijuana start there set. I would guess that none of these guys are over 18 yet, but they were good…very good. With a sound reminiscent of the Red Hot Chili Peppers (they did actually cover one of the Chili’s songs). They had stage presence and enthusiasm that it’s rare to see from such a young band, at least with them pulling it off. They had the crowd really enjoying them and I can really see these guys getting signed and becoming big….if they don’t it would be a crime!

Next up were Parry:Matthews, now although I’ve seen both Anna Parry and Rob Phillips play acoustic sets both separately and together I’ve not seen the full band play before. In all honesty I was disappointed. There was so much going on musically it distracted from the vocals which were also drowned out by the numerous instruments and background music. Anna’s voice is too good to be drowned out like that. I was also disappointed to see that Rob Phillips only does backing vocals…with a voice like he has he should be fronting a band. I’d thought from the songs on their MySpace page that I’d really enjoy them but too be honest I felt robbed of a good live experience, this is a band that I see doing the live circuit and even supporting some good acts, but I don’t see them becoming big in their own right…I could be wrong as they sure had a big following last night, but for me they didn’t do it.

I had no expectations of The Girls, I had not listened to any of their music and had actually only heard about them at another gig a few days ago when they were mentioned. The lead singer won me over before they even started playing, anybody who wears a feather boa at a rock night is going to be good! They didn’t disappoint. They were to me what Glam Rock has become…heavy, controversial and fun. Anybody who wasn’t in the mood before they started were sure in the mood by the time they finished! I’m going to be keeping an eye out for future gigs from these guys I can just see us having lots of fun rocking out to them!

Finally, the headliners, the band I was really looking forward to seeing. Fortune Drive have been on the scene in Bristol a good few years. Thinking back I first saw them play about 4-5 years ago. At that point they were fairly new and still unsigned, but they were good! Over the years they’ve got better…and signed! Last night was the first time I’ve seen them play in about 9 months, for one reason or another I’ve missed a lot of their gigs, and I’ve always kicked myself for missing them! Last night they really took the crowd to new levels, great rock, great stage presence, great songs, just damned great! They played some of their best songs including one of my favourites Sparkle. They’re about to embark on a national tour, and I’d suggest getting along to see them if you get a chance!

All in all I really enjoyed the night, there were ups and downs, but at a showcase night like this you’re always going to get them…and for me the downs make the ups so much better! Unfortunately there aren’t any photo’s, I got too wrapped up in all the music!

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