Wednesday, 26 November 2014

933 2:54, LSA, Follow The Sun, Bristol Louisiana, Tuesday 25 November 2014

I should really know better than to tip bands to go on to greater things by now, shouldn’t I? Having previously gleefully declared that the likes of Lush and Glasvegas were going to be “huge huge huge!” – and that really didn’t work out for either of those, did it? – I also said, after seeing promising ethereal dreampop pipistrelles 2:54 at my old 80’s tiny bolt-hole, Oxford’s Jericho Tavern, a couple of years ago, that I had a feeling the next time I saw them would be in a much bigger venue. Hmmm, I thought, 2 years on, as I booked tickets for tonight’s gig at, erm, tiny Bristol bolt-hole The Louisiana, bigmouth strikes again!
I also picked up their new CD, “The Other I”, but despite it generating a similar mood of wistful melancholy as their eponymous debut, I found it a bit, well, samey really, overall no real development or progression to their sound, a couple of numbers (notably the excellent “Crest”) notwithstanding. Nevertheless, one hopes that as at the Jericho, the band could rise above their lack of obvious tuneage “live”. We’ll see… So, I set off after 7 for a run down an increasingly rainy M4, rather stupidly over-shooting my turn in the centre of Bristol, but eventually finding a lucky parking spot directly outside the venue, nonetheless getting soaked while I got the ticket. D’oh! Dried off in the downstairs bar while watching the first half of the Man City Champion’s League game, then took a wander upstairs for opener Follow The Sun. Wished I hadn’t, as he was (again) “playing” low budget nature documentary theme tune bollocks through his tape loop machine whilst sitting there looking gormless. I hate these so-called “musicians” who do this… hate ‘em!
I was therefore more kindly disposed to main support LSA – at least they were a proper band! – and honestly they were much more the ticket. A gang of four black and red clad youths playing some generic but spritely and upbeat glam/indie guitar pop, with their third number displaying some shimmering shoegaze fretwork, and their best number, “Where’s The Time Gone” (?) showing some widescreen stadium rock tendencies. Set closer “Honest Man” spewed out impressive garage rock venom, closing a nice support set from a confident young band clearly still looking for their own identity. It’ll be interesting to see how they end up…
Back into the now-busy upstairs room for the main act; I took a spot near the front as 2:54, after a soundcheck and brief departure from the stage, re-appeared at 10, the 4-piece band led by sisters Collette and Hannah Thurlow and backed up by 2 beefy blokes. Opener “South” kicked off proceedings, the girls slowly swaying and rocking in time with this moody opener. An early “Scarlet” segued splendidly into the excellent, creepy “Sugar”, and a subsequent bouncy “Crest”, easily their best new number, was also head and shoulders above anything else tonight, a sweeping chorus featuring some almost early U2-like intricate guitar riffery from Hannah, and some pounding drums from the impressive, hard-hitting sticksman.
That, however, was as good as it got. All too often there was little variation in the otherwise patchy material, and it merged into one, relying too much on evoking a gloomy, melancholy mood and atmosphere, and on Collette’s strident atonal vocals. Like one of their obvious antecedents, 90’s pseudo Goth/electronica band Curve, they’ve got a couple of really good numbers right now, then there’s a big gap, then there’s the rest… The chorus line to new number “Blindfold” uncomfortably resembled Adamski’s “Killer” (covered by them last time out), and I confess my mood wasn’t helped by ubiquitous (and large) scenester Jeff turning up midway through and barging right to the front, necessitating a shift around just so that I could see! Appreciate your enthusiasm Jeff, but you make a lousy window…
“Orion” concluded a lengthy-feeling 45 minute set, prior to which Collette thanked everybody for coming, stating, “it’s been a long road back”. Perhaps they should have made a couple of more stops along said road to write more songs and develop their sound further, I thought as I swiftly exited the venue (no set-list tonight, so my recent run stops at 20, but after this show I wasn’t that bothered) and made my way home, a wretched journey down a sodden M4. Sorry girls, but I’m afraid that on the strength of tonight and the current album, 2:54 have been well and truly eclipsed in the doomy goth girl-pop stakes by the likes of Savages, and I’ve got the feeling the next time I see them – and there will be a next time, I’m not giving up on this still-promising band that easily – it’ll be in exactly the same size of venue as tonight…

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