Figment, The Will Knox Band, Mr Ginger Review

first_imgPort Mahon, HT 08 Week 1, 13 JanuaryThe upstairs of the Port Mahon is an unassuming venue – the stage rocks the ‘my best mate’s living room’ vibe, complete with fireplace and telly moved out of the way to fit in the drum kit. Well, almost.The humble staging, however, was actually the perfect offset for three very different musical outfits. Figment were back on stage after a couple of months away from the live scene. The Bristol three-piece unleashed their brand of snarling, brawling rock with vim and fervour. Their energy was almost uncontainable, mic stands askew and t-shirts duly stripped, delivered at ear-splitting volume. They announced themselves with Reservoir Dogs style shouts and a bass line more infectious than an outbreak of food poisoning at a picnic serving prawn cocktail for starters.Figment are clearly very tight – the illusion of spontaneity is clearly underpinned by the old formula talent versus practise. Drummer Harvey was impressive (and not just because of his pectorals), blowing out any January cobwebs with one particular drum solo that shook your very bones. The fairly subdued Sunday night crowd didn’t really know how to respond to the sweating, swaggering beast that commanded their attention. Figment don’t promise to change the world, but they do put out for a filthily good time. Look out for them live in 2008. Next up were the Will Knox Band. The difference between the two bands couldn’t have been more marked. Will Knox leads his melancholy band of boys and girls through heartbreaking acoustic folk-tinged tunes. Two things raise them above a slew of Jose-Gonzalez sound-alikes: the first is the quality of the song-writing.The lyrics are quietly well observed: “please don’t neglect me like a dress you outgrew”, “I’m as empty as the pockets of my skin tight jeans.” The second is Will Knox himself – his understated charisma asserts an irresistible pull. His clear and tender vocals are nuanced by bass-player Jeni Magana’s. The breath catching moment of the night was their stripped acoustic number. With their soft West Coast glamour, the Will Knox band put me in a position that I never thought I’d be in, thinking: “Man, that was an intense banjo solo.” No pretension, just lush strings and effortless atmosphere: lovely, lovely stuff. Finally, Mister Ginger took to the stage. What to expect with such variety preceding them? Mister Ginger are an Oxford four piece, bridging the Balliol/Trinity divide by making sweet music. They don’t have a particularly coherent look, at odds with the unity of their music, which is expressed in the verve and imagination with which they play. Once more tonight it’s the drums that that drive this operation forward – Nick Wallace with Pete Ballett on bass are a potent combination.Mr Ginger are a more complex entity than the two previous bands, and definitely show the most variety in terms of style of song-writing. I am frustrated as to pin them down generically. Shall we say ‘intelligent, layered, witty guitar rock’, and then leave you to hunt them down in Myspace monde? Good. Because you should. And join the campaign to get them to play again before Trinity Ball. All in all, Port Mahon offered an unexpectedly well balanced night of high quality, passionate and professional music. Such an eclectic mix shouldn’t have worked, but it really, truly did. Roll on Hilary Mathura Umachandranlast_img read more