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Friday 27th September 2013
The Engine Shed in Lincoln, UK
Reviews & Photography by Mark Holmes
Opening up the night at 7.30pm in a sparsely populated venue are Kent's Propellers. However, the small crowd gathered in front of the stage make themselves heard as band members walk onto the stage and are greeted with a cacophony of high-pitched screams from a predominantly young female audience. On the surface, this lot are something of a generic indie pop/rock crew although the addition of a prominent synth sound (or, at least, it's prominent tonight in the mix) adds a twist to the, otherwise, sonic genericism. Whether that's a good or bad twist depends on your proclivity towards cheesy 80s synth pop/rock as that's how this Kentish mob have chosen to colour their songs and propel the small crowd back three decades with their retro underpinnings. It's difficult to make an overall judgement just how good or bad he Propellers music is this evening as not only is the synth (too) prominent in the mix but they're given a distinctly bass heavy sound through the PA, rendering guitars largely inaudible. Still, the crowd seem to love 'em so it's fair to say they appeased existing fans in attendance and won over many more with their performance.
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Upping the energy levels in the Engine Shed tonight - at least on stage as the crowd seem more subdued - Atlanta's Cartel take to the stage next after a swift fifteen minute change-over and waste no time in commencing a dynamic, entertaining and no-nonsense half hour barrage of pop-punk tunes. Way more upbeat in their performance and music than Propellers, unlike Kent's synth-drenched indie rockers, it actually looks like they're having a great deal of fun on stage. Guitarist Joseph Pepper, in particular, rocks it out big-time as he throws himself around the stage throughout most of the performance - with little intricacy in the riffery and leads, it's extra effort he can afford to put into his performance. Despite Cartel's best efforts to gee up the crowd, their high energy performance isn't overly reciprocated within a more subdued audience. All in all, though, an apposite warm-up act for tonight's main attraction.
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Kids In Glass Houses at The Engine Shed in Lincoln, UK, 27th September 2013
Photograph copyright 2013 Mark Holmes - www.metal-discovery.com
Appearing at 9.15pm prompt as the venue's lights dim, the mere sighting of silhouetted band members assuming relative positions on stage is enough to trigger a plethora of screams from an evidently over-excited audience that's at least eighty per cent constituted by young ladies. I guess that's indicative of Kids in Glass Houses poppier foundations in that they attract such an audience and reaction. And it's an audience that has significantly grown since the start of the evening with a mass of bodies that have seemingly materialised from nowhere just minutes before KIGH hit the stage. Then follows an hour and a quarter of uplifting, hook-driven, catchy-as-fuck, alt-pop-rock songs drawn from the band's Roadrunner era as well as forthcoming new album 'Peace'. Not due to be released until three days' time on Transmission Recordings, it's been streaming online for a few days and fans have evidently done their homework as mass sing-alongs ensue to every song aired, old and new. A couple of promo videos for new tracks - 'Peace' and 'Drive' - that've been out there for a good few weeks now have obviously helped too, and it's those two songs with which they open their set with both treated like classics from their back catalogue already. And with over an hour of big hooks and up-tempo, upbeat music, KIGH have an incredibly good sound and clear mix through the PA - obviously, for the first time this evening, an engineer who knows how to properly work the venue's desk. Frontman Aled Phillips is in fine voice throughout and has a commanding stage presence as he moves around energetically, occasionally leaping high up from the drum riser. And his bandmates, while not quite as dynamic in their stage moves, are tight and slick as a unit. Ultimately, there's little that's original about KIGH's music but they're a hundred per cent solid and entertaining at what they do and, after tonight's show at the Engine Shed, I'd say their post-Roadrunner career looks very promising indeed.
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