After making their reputation with countless live shows over the last few years Static Alice have also found the time to record and release both a full length album and EP, and now, they’ve marked the releases of their third record, another EP titled Warrior, with what looked set to be a special show at The Fermain Tavern.
Continuing something of a trend they began a while ago two of the support acts were at the newer and younger end of the scene, with acoustic pop trio Common Room on stage first.
With acoustic guitar, bass guitar and vocals and a very pop sensibility, Common Room presented something a bit different to many acts over here. Vocalist Olivia Manheim seemed to have all the ingredients to be an excellent an engaging front person, though maybe was a little restrained in the face of a small and distant audience here.
Common Room were at their best when all three members relaxed into the performance as happened a few times, particularly on an impressive original song and as the set went on, and they definitely made a good impression on the small audience.
Second of the young bands was track not found. While they took a couple of songs to hit their stride once they did their combination of grunge, punk and indie rock sounded as good as ever.
While Grace Tayler leads the band with a singular presence that brings to mind Dresden Doll’s Amanda Palmer run through a noisy rock filter, Emma Thomas (drums) and Maisie Bison (bass and vocals) more than ably fill out the rest of the sound, with both carving their own niche within the band.
Once again the band gave it their all with Code Red and Ecstasy being particular highlights of a set that continued to win over new fans.
Like the headliners, Honest Crooks are another band who’d taken a bit for a break from live shows earlier in the year.
After outings at Chaos at the Jam and for the Vale Earth Fair’s Liberation Day show at The Last Post where they added organ and saxophone player Naomi Burton to their line up, they brought this more developed ska sound to The Tav .
Being my first time seeing this version of the band I wasn’t sure what to expect and it did take them a little longer than usual to settle into their normal fun and upbeat vibe but, once they were there, the additional sounds really lifted the music to a new level with the best moments allowing a new sonic dynamic between James Radford’s guitar and the organ and saxophone parts.
With a couple of new songs thrown into the mix, along with some old favourites and a couple of well-chosen covers, Honest Crooks drew the most people onto the dancefloor but with still only a small crowd the set didn’t quite live up to their much deserved reputation.
Even though they were launching a new record Static Alice started out in much the way they usually do with a selection of their now fairly well-known and established pop-rockers, in typically tight and energetic fashion.
Unfortunately with most of the audience seemingly more interested in the bar than the band their efforts did little more than elicit some light bopping from the dedicated few who remained on the dancefloor.
A decent mid set run at Audioslave’s Cochise (the set’s only cover), in tribute to the recently departed Chris Cornell, seemed to grab a little more interest but this soon waned which is a real shame as, as I’ve said before, Static Alice have a strong line in hooky, driven, rock that, at its best, can really get a crowd going.
With three of the four tracks from the Warrior EP saved for a final blast and demonstrating a slightly heavier side to the band even these fell flat as the obvious effort being put in from in the stage seemed to be lost in an energy sucking void before it reached the audience.
While there are always reasons for low turn outs at shows this one felt particularly hard to reconcile given the effort all four acts put in but it ultimately turned what should have been a celebratory night of high energy music into something disappointingly flat.