Review: Summer Soundtrack (The Box, 5-Jun-2009)

As is always the way, naming anything after summer is bound to summon some lousy weather, and such was the case last night; pretty much on the dot of eight the heavens opened and the rain that had been threatened all day arrived by the bucketload.  But you’re not here for a weather report!

Opening proceedings with a splash of melodic pop-punk were Stoke’s Point Blank; while their sound is great, with shades of Sum 41, Blink 182, and Green Day, they need to work a little on their stagecraft — it appeared the guitarist had been cast in stone and nailed to the spot and there was little or no interaction between the band and the audience; this should improve with experience, though, and they showed a great deal of promise, so no doubt they’ll be back.

Having heard some grumblings from them earlier about having had their slot changed from third to second I had visions of a dour or miserable set from Almost Real, but it proved to be quite the opposite; taking influences from all over the place and fusing them into an irrepressible barrage of tuneful noise, the Cheadle four-piece had the crowd up and jumping throughout their brief but satisfying set, and their energy and enthusiasm was plain to see.

Following that was going to be a tough job, but local lads Meadow View turned everything up to 11 — owing more to the shambolic punk ethic of New York in the 80s than to the polished radio-friendly sounds of today, they seemed to be having a blast on stage and their infectious joy was hard to resist; were it not for that fact that I’m too old and fragile for such things any more I’d have quite happily joined in the mini moshpit that had developed at the front of the audience.

Unfortunately that was the high point of proceedings, and headliners The Bassics were no match for their support acts.  For starters their indie sound made them musically a poor fit, but most damagingly they also had an almost complete lack of stage presence; the bassist and guitarist spent the entire performance hiding behind the keyboard player and the three of them were bunched up at one end of the stage while the vocalist/guitarist was on his own at the other end, almost as if they were trying to avoid each other, and it was a disappointing end to an otherwise great night.


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