Tuesday 27th August 2013, 2:00PM BST.
An evening of Guernsey and Jersey bands at the Fermain Tavern last Saturday was marred by poor attendance, Tom Girard reports…
For the second time this summer local alternative clothing brand Anything Goes Apparel teamed up with Jersey’s Punkalicious Records to present a night of bands from both islands at the Fermain Tavern.
While the first gig had been hailed a great success by all involved and had attracted an if not huge then at least decent crowd, unfortunately the same could not be said for the return.
Punk trio Black Vote were marking something of a crossroads on the night as it was their last gig with guitarist and founding member Cam Le Page, but that didn’t seem to have altered their already bickering dynamic as they blasted through a set of their own brand of punk rock, which combines the styles of The Offspring with the more hardcore edge of the likes of Minor Threat along with a strong vein of cynical socio-politics in the lyrics.
This three-piece line-up seems to be the best arrangement the band have found yet and they were possibly the tightest I’ve ever seen them which, while lacking the somewhat ramshackle nature that has added a certain charm to past gigs, certainly made for a more musically satisfying outing for them.
Being a part-time band among part-time bands (and I don’t mean that as a criticism), From Bedrooms To Backseats have had their ups and downs. While I have enjoyed their sets in the past, last Saturday’s seemed to be lacking something.
However, each member played well, once again, with guitarist Charlie Holmes being the standout and frontman James Radford giving one of the stronger vocal performances I’ve seen from him, in terms of the shoutier sections at least.
I was once again struck by the fact that the band were playing very much to and for a small group of their friends, leaving the few members of the audience who weren’t part of that group, like me, more than a little left out.
Had the crowd been bigger I have a feeling this wouldn’t have mattered so much but unfortunately the Tavern was only very sparsely populated on the night, so when Jersey’s Hold Your Fire! got up on stage to help with vocals, that left almost no one on the dance floor.
It left me with the feeling that I was invading a private party I hadn’t been invited to.
Before Pirate Video Company were ready there seemed like a fairly lengthy break as they set up which, unfortunately, killed whatever atmosphere had built up at the venue, as it seemed 90% of those in attendance headed outside, leaving the band to get things going afresh. This saw them play to a ‘crowd’ predominantly made up of the night’s other acts.
While the band hinted at some interesting sounds in a hard-indie/post punk kind of vibe, a lot of this was unfortunately lost in a wall of noisy (and not in a good way) guitar, feedback and shouting.
This left the whole set without any dynamic or definition so, while certainly intense, it came without a clear meaning or purpose and left me wondering where the good word I’d heard on the band had come from.
After splitting up a few years ago, Hold Your Fire! returned to the stage on Saturday and brought some melody back to the evening with their brand of tuneful pop-hardcore. This seemed, for the first time on the night, to genuinely grab the interest of the audience, which actually seemed to have suddenly increased a bit just in time for this band.
After two bands who largely base their vocal style on tuneless shouting, it was good to hear some more pop-punk style vocals going on. The band played a cover of The Bloodhound Gang’s The Ballad of Chasey Lain and it was clear where Hold Your Fire! were coming from. Their own material, featuring more than a few video game references, was equally fun and upbeat.
While the night had been a very mixed affair and was marred by the small crowd, Hold Your Fire! did their best to make things end on a comparative high point.