Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Review: Kevin On A Bike - Punctured EP

The sleepy hollow of Blessington is an unlikely place to find such a raucous group as Kevin On A Bike. Their latest EP 'Puncture' takes its cues from such rock heavyweights as Metallica, Alice In Chains, and Thin Lizzy.

She Wants Blood starts off with a good Pantera Style guitar riff. The drums are predictably, but necessarily pounding. The chorus is melodic; think Funeral For A Friend meets Bullet For My Valentine circa 2005. Glenn Fitzpatrick's vocals are initially weak, but find momentum from the first chorus onwards. The backing vocals are well thought out and executed and help this song stand out from the rest of the tracks on the EP (The other two main guitar riffs differ greatly and are influenced by Iron Maiden and the Offspring)

Say is an altogether lighter affair. At first listen its a throw away attempt at balladeering, in the mainstream crossover style of Jimmy Eat World and Green Day, but after several listens it begins to stick in your head. However Colin Shirran's overcooked, overlong and largely pointless guitar solo undoes the rest of the bands good work.

With Searching, Kevin On A Bike cross the line from homage of Metallica into imitation of Metallica. This song skirts uncomfortably around Enter Sandman in the verses and choruses. This is a real pity as its Glenn Fitzpatrick's most authentic vocal performance, particularly in the middle eight where he delivers a powerful Layne Staleyesque refrain.

Last and definitely least Don't, is a song of two sides. The verses are so bad even Spinal Tap would be embarrassed. While the chorus shows the initial promise of She Wants Blood. The vocal hook of "Don't kiss me 'til you've made up your mind. Don't touch me 'til you're sure" is immediate, but a serious rewrite is the very least it deserves.

Kevin On A Bike are four accomplished metal musicians struggling to find their own unique sound. A move away from listening to their teenage influences would greatly enhance their sound, allowing them to create rather than imitate.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Review: Get Back! The Story of The Beatles at The Olympia, Dublin. Wed. 4th of August.

Get Back! The Story of the Beatles is a triumph from the first note till the last. The recreation of the look the sound and sex appeal of the original band is flawless. The look sound and swagger is all there from the innocence of the Cavern Club and That Boy to the strained relationships and infighting of The End.

The show begins with the band silhouetted by a white curtain which raises to reveal John, Paul, George, and Ringo in the Cavern Club dressed in grey suits. The band launch into a feverish version of Twist and Shout followed quickly by Rollover Beethoven and I Saw Her Standing There. The band disappear stage left, as recreated footage of Brian Epstein (played by Chris Nugent) talking about how The Beatles "have star quality" It is at this point the audience realises that the stakes have been raised considerably.

A costume change later and we are transported to Abbey Road recording studios. John, Paul & George record the vocals for Please Please Me, while Ringo reads the paper and drinks a cup of coffee, as a giant black and white backdrop of a record button turns red. Love Me Do is backed by a list of Beatles gigs; photographs of surging crowds, newspaper clippings and recreated footage of the cover band being chased through streets, by hoards of screaming girls.

Next we are treated to news-reels of the actual coverage of The Beatles arriving in America mixed with footage of the cover band. Another suit change, this time into grey again and the band return Rickenbacker's in hand for All My Loving and the fantastic She Loves You.

Fran King is truly amazing as Paul McCartney the reproduction of the vocal tone is exquisite, while the mimicking of face and hand gestures are also to a T. A truly astonishing version of I Wanna Hold Your Hand is followed by more Brian Epstein and rerecorded scenes from A Hard Days Night.

A beautifully shot black and white music video for That Boy precedes another costume change and a visit to Shea Stadium. The band arrive on stage through the audience, much to their delight. The Audience is on its feet for A Hard Days Night which is followed by a fab version of Cant Buy Me Love. Step Forward Ringo aka Binzer (The Frames/ The Swell Season/ Joe Chester/ Gemma Hayes) for I Wanna Be Your Man.

Ringo's moment in the sun over, its back to John and Paul for I Feel Fine and Ticket To Ride. The band depart leaving Paul alone to perform Yesterday much to the delight of the crowd. When the band return John and Ringo have donned shades. George holds a red Gibson SG and Lennon a cream Gibson ES 335, they play a knockout version of Day Tripper. Its time to let George sing a song.

Its the first chance for Rob McKinney to take centre stage. Taxman brings hoots of laughter and lots of applause as "Mr. Wilson and Mr.Heath" are replaced by "Mr. Cowen and Mr. Lennon." The backdrop displays images of The Beatles albums being burnt in America following the infamous "We're bigger than Jesus" Lennon soundbite.

Following a fifteen minute interval the band return to the stage presenting The Beatles "blue period" material. First up is Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise). The crowd go wild as the curtain comes up, to reveal the band, in full period costume as psychedelic imagery cascades from the screen, behind the band. Next stop Penny Lane L18 with stops at Tony Slavin's Barbershop and Penny Lane Cakes and Penny Lane Chips.

John sits behind a suitably psychedelic upright piano for A Day In The Life. His glasses round and his hair edging towards his neck. The video screen shows the front page of The Daily Mail the headline reads "Guinness Heir Dies in Car Crash" The band are now truly into uncharted waters as The Beatles rarely, if ever, preformed this material live. They have a slightly rockier edge than the original records with most of the string and horn parts being playing by John on keys. A Day In The Life receives rapturous applause the loudest of the night so far.

It is followed by more recreated footage of Epstein and the band, as we are informed of his untimely death at the age of just 32. The band depart to leave John, stage right,sitting, knees crossed on the floor. A celestial video sequence starts as he gently strums the opening of Across The Universe on an acoustic guitar. The crowd soon join in for the mantra "jai guru deiva om."

When the band return for Magical Mystery Tour, Ringo looks decidedly like a cross between a Cartoon Sausage Dog and a character from "Trumpton" dressed as he is, in a red plastic coat and a fireman's hat. He sports an extremely well developed moustache too. "Lets do a fruity one" quips John before crashing into an excellent rendition of Strawberry Fields Forever more footage of Liverpool, the fields themselves, cartoon fields and skies, emerge from the video screen. The band kick into another gear for I Am The Walrus the volume swells as George man-handles his guitar into submission.

Cut to the EMI buildings, as the biggest stars of music are being interviewed before the 1967 "Our World" TV extravaganza. "Here comes Keith Moon. Here Comes George Harrison and his wife Patti look here comes Eric Clapton". with a quick joke about "our world looking wonderful tonight" the crowd laughs while the aficionados will chuckle as Clapton steals Harrison's wife halfway up the steps of the EMI building. All You Need Is Love the worlds most popular song in 3/4 time is another sing along triumph. The screes turn black as armies march us into Back In The USSR. While still images of Che Guevara, JFK, Elvis, Hendrix, the patsy Oswald and Bobby Kennedy appear during Revolution as a snarling John is note perfect throughout.

The curtain closes and George gets his second stint in the spotlight as he performs, a well received medley of While My Guitar Gently Weeps and Here Comes The Sun on acoustic guitar. The final costume changes see the band emerge Paul with beard, and black suit. John, long hair, and fur coat. Smoke rises from the chimneys of the specially built roof top set. Get Back has the audience on its feet and the balconies swaying instantly. Hey Jude provokes its usual hysteria. However The End is a well measured surprise that brings the house down once and for all.

Get Back! is much more than a simple tribute band could ever hope to muster. It is a love affair with the music, the time, the characters and the clothes. A decade; cyphered into two joyous hours of the worlds finest band, by the worlds finest tribute act.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Review: We Are Trees - Boyfriend EP

I love when a band falls in to your lap and here at AIMR we are on a purple patch the fabulous Sacred Animals have led us onto Virgina Beach's We Are Trees. The 'Boyfriend EP' is best described as Bedroom Ephemeral, simple yet dreamy.

In opening track Sunrise Sunset an acoustic guitar hangs in a cloud of effect laden drums and persuasion. James Nee's opening "oh Ha oh" vocals provide the main hook in the song. The vocals are happy-sad, the delivery is a blend of Win Butler and Hayden Thorpe. The music builds to a crescendo with the violin and guitar playing harder and harder.

In Daniel, again a lonesome acoustic guitar precedes a raft of drums; only this time Rocky Capizzi's rustic violin provides the killer hook, not the backing vocals. The influence of Arcade Fire is easy to hear especially when the cello enters the fray.

Dear Chan Marshall begins a more traditional mid tempo folk number, taking its cues from Dylan & Neil Young. A love-lost yarn, skeptical of romance to say the least. Again the chorus is a hum rather than a lyric and we are treated to more alt rock bowing.

Staccato picked violin and cello figures are the bedrock of Final Round wich contains yet another hum along vocal melody. The mix has more emphasis on the lead guitar than in previous songs. This is the quirkiest of all the songs, a strange cross between The Divine Comedy and Fleet Foxes.

'Boyfriend', is available to download, for free, from the bands Bandcamp site and is thoroughly enjoyable. We expect to be impressed once again in the future.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Review: Pavesi (Myspace review)

Following Pavesi's recent appearance at the King Kong Club in The Village We took it upon ourselves to check out their Myspace. so first things first. Lads, get the web Dr. in your site is unreadable.

You could be listening to any sunkist american indie outfit untill Duck Gallagher starts to sing on East Side the influence of 80's Irish rock such as Something Happens and The Four of Us is obvious while homage is also paid to Brian Adams and the 80's soft rock ballad in general.

Unfortunately they have failed to capture the energy of their live show in the studio.Shake starts of with a guitar line somewhere inbetween Summer of 69 and Nada Surf's Fruit Fly, untill Duck's vocals turn it into a Neil Diamond parody in places. We now know what a Diamond cover of any of the songs from Coldplays 'Parachutes' album would sound like.

Despite Ronan Hana's obvious guitar talent there's no getting away from the feeling that its close but no cigar for Pavesi. The choruses fail to shine as bright as they do live. Its another case of a good live band failing to tame the studio.