Even as I arrived at The Venue for the Easter Sunday Sound Guernsey event it was clear this was going to be a busy one with more than 100 tickets sold before the show, it wasn’t long until capacity was reached and new band Loose Ties took to the stage.
Made up of students from St Sampson’s High School, Loose Ties were making their first public performance. This comprised a set of covers delivered mostly fluidly despite the obvious nerves on display.
The inclusion of a piano added something a bit different to most young rock bands and all five members showed potential that could easily begin to be reached with the confidence that comes after a little more experience in front of an audience.
Another new young band took to the stage next, Equilibrium. A little more experienced than Loose Ties, this was still my first chance to see them and I was impressed both by their playing and their choice of covers.
Spanning upbeat jangly indie like Scouting For Girls’ hit She’s So Lovely to Blink 182’s All The Small Things to The White Stripes’ Seven Nation Army it was a varied collection and all delivered with a relaxed and vibrant feel.
Drummer Charlie really powered the band from the back and, at the risk of sounding patronising, it was great to see a pair of female guitarists (Lili and Elle) fronting the band, along with vocalist Ivy, that gave the band a different dynamic from the usually male fronted rock bands I’m more used to seeing on local stages.
Getting calls for an encore Equilibrium delivered a second run of All The Small Things and, while it was maybe all a bit reserved and polite, they again showed a huge potential and really got the crowd going.
After two straightforward pop-rock cover bands things took a turn for the more experimental as Flexagon made their live debut in two-piece form. Armed with an Ableton Push set up and electronic drum kit, as soon as they set up it was clear this wasn’t going to be something many in attendance were used to and, in that, the duo didn’t disappoint.
To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect and I got it in spades. Rhythmically focused electronic sounds were layered one upon the other creating dense, sprawling tracks with hard to resist yet relatively laid back beats. The whole thing felt fluid and organic with what seemed to be an improvised edge, but was tight enough to create an engaging performance that got many a head nodding, mine included.
While it wasn’t the sort of music to fill a dancefloor it was clear many were engaged from the sidelines and it gave a good flavour of what could be expected in The Peace Tent at Chaos (after the live music) to this audience who would have been unlikely to experience that before.
As Blakalaska set up on stage they provided a DJ set which drew many back to the dancefloor and even instigated something of a dance off with Loose Ties’ piano player busting out some breakdancing moves, all of which kept the audience engaged for the night’s headliners.
Playing with a reduced line up thanks to an injury that kept guitarist Oliver Farrimond from appearing, Blakalaska didn’t let this phase them one bit as they launched into their huge sounding electro-rock. Instantly the crowd filled the dancefloor and, while maybe not as active as the audience at Jonah Beats earlier in the month, were clearly loving the sounds.
The use of pre-recorded guitar parts did mean the band had to stick to a more rigid performance than usual, which made some of it feel a bit restrained, though it was impressive to see a band carrying on in the face of a missing member.
Frontwoman Lee Rosete put on a great show (despite taking ‘selfies’ mid-song – I don’t think that will ever stop frustrating me) that really engaged the audience while Barney as ever excelled on the V-Drums that help give the band their unique sound and power.
With this newer songs built on the familiar ones to continue the bands evolution and they closed the night off on a real high that marked, to my mind, a high point of the Sound Guernsey shows so far – and long may they continue giving youngsters a chance to not only experience a broad range of live music but also play to their peers away from school.