VENUE: Bull & Gate, 389 Kentish Town Road, London NW5 2JT
OUR VERDICT: A Great Mix
Due to other commitments, we missed the first two days of the 1st annual IPO in London, but day 3, we were raring to go, and got to the Bull & Gate mid-afternoon and just in time to see The Soundcasters (www.myspace.com/thesoundcastersmusic & http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/group.php?gid=32683261704) setting up. The Sunday afternoon audience was very sparse so we almost got our "up close and personal" gig, but hats off to the band, as they played their full set, with the same gusto we saw in Liverpool. Again, their James Brown (via The Moody Blues) cover was awesome.
|4th Street Traffic|
Dave Rave (www.myspace.com/daverave) , from Ontario Canada was next on the bill and he kicked off his party with "Let's Face It". A highlight for us was "Anne-Marie" which is such an infectious song, we love it loads and his set was topped off with "Rock The Party" and "Let's Shake", which are two trademark Dave Rave songs and great crowd pleasers, albeit still a relatively small crowd.
|Dave Rave with Marc and Simon|
Dave was backed by Marc and Simon from Plastic Heroes and encouraged people to dance along with him on stage. Our host, David Bash was not shy here and jumped up right away.
|David Bash joins Dave Rave on stage|
Minty thought he sounded a bit like Uncle Bob Dylan, even when he sang an old Scottish traditional Robert Burns song. David Bash summed up his performance as "powerful and moving". The Beeb thought he was great, and had the opportunity to share a few Scottish anecdotes afterwards when they found out both of them grew up in Glasgow.
Next up, Mellowmen from Sweden (www.myspace.com/mellowmen). We have seen this band every year in Liverpool so we knew what to expect from their set - a fast paced, frenetic set delivered by a band who lap up being on stage like a sponge. All of the band have stage presence, and in particular the rhytmn guitarist, who was singing along, despite not having a microphone and the drummer. who had great facial expressions, really getting into the groove!.
Their song "Party at 11" really went down well (this was a highlight from their Liverpool set too). They had brought a few friends along, which swelled the audience numbers somewhat and gave a great atmosphere.
Next on the bill was the main attraction for Shindig, a band really endorsed by the magazine, Ulysses (www.myspace.com/ulyssesgb). Jon Mills from the magazine introduced them to the stage, as "the future sound of classic rock".
On myspace their music sounds great, but when on stage, their amps go beyond 11 and we found that much of the vocals were drowned by the buzz and shred of guitars which were just that little bit too loud for the size of the venue. One of their songs reminded us a bit of "Dancing In The Street" and although there were a fair number in the stage area, about the same number of people were outside in the bar and not taking in the music.
Last up tonight was The Kinbeats (www.myspace.com/thekinbeats) a band we had already seen in Liverpool, and although based in Kilburn, London are originally from Germany. In Liverpool we were struck by their harmonies, which did not come as a surprise due to the fact the band is made up of three brothers and a cousin.
"Long Way Home" particularly caught our attention, and "Sail Away" had a really catchy chorus. It's a shame there weren't more people in the venue to hear them.
And a bit about he venue itself.....
This was the first time we have been to The Bull and Gate and it is an OK venue... the music room is separated from the main bar and the venue is a very basic, stage and cleared floor area with benches and tables along the perimeter. The sound is very good, and tonight's engineer, Owen set up the bands quickly, and made sure things like redundant microphones and cables were out of the way.
The ladies loos were kept clean, but you had to be careful when entering otherwise you'd knock into anyone standing by the dryer for their hands! We'll say nothing about the gents..... other than disgusting.