Wednesday 25 November 2009

No Big Suprises At London Calling

Another stormy November month means another London Calling edition. Which bands will follow into the foot steps of major acts like Blur, Arctic Monkeys, Bloc Party and Franz Ferdinand who all started out as unknowns on the festival in the past?

London Calling at Paradiso, November 21 2009

I was still recovering from a very painful back so I was hoping the bands were good enough to make me forget about it. Of course nothing that a few beers can't fix but I was hoping there was more to enjoy than last year.

Beth Jeans Houghton (Ronald Says 5 out of 10)
I read some reviews where people actually liked this but it definitely couldn't please me. This young lady was dressed like a crossing between Amy Whinehouse and a candy store and her band got a little of that too. She seems to be aiming for similar exposure as Lady Gaga but her performance was simply clumsy with a lot of nervous chatting (but that could have been an act). But therefore it was missing any direction and just never really took off. She has a nice voice but I didn't like her songs. But that may be just a matter of taste.

The Boxer Rebellion (Ronald Says 6 out of 10)
Nicely styled and dressed in black they seem to have given it some thought. Too bad they didn't put the same kind of energy and thought into their music. It sounds like U2, Coldplay but never really sparkles. In the end the crowd got bored as well and were looking at their schedules for the next act.

Kid Harpoon (Ronald Says 6 out of 10)
Unfortunately Kid Harpoon was up next. He's a happy camper and it's pretty brave to perform by yourself with an accoustic guitar. He looked like a singer-songwriter with ADHD but in the end his songs didn't really have a lot of variation.

Wild Beasts (Ronald Says 7 out of 10)
Probably one of the performances many people were looking forward to after their new album got quite some exposure and good reviews. Their music is live still very interesting with nice hooks and plenty to enjoy. The dreamy songs with alternating vocals by Hayden Thorpe and bass player Tom Fleming are quite nice. In the end Thorpe's falsetto does get a bit annoying.

Violens (Ronald Says 7 out of 10)
I was pleasently surprised by these guys since I was expecting something totally different but probably had some acts mixed up in my head. Nothing special about their indie rock music but they played it with a nice freshness and in a candid way that worked well. If they can come up with more original songs they may be able to take this a lot further.

Bombay Bicycle Club (Ronald Says 6 out of 10)
Another band that got good reviews for their album and are a band to watch. Their performance was slightly disappointing though. The beginning was especially rough since the sound was just horrible, which is beyond the band's control. After the sound was fixed more or less it still didn't really take off. The songs seem to have enough potential but somehow their performance was a bit pale. The fans that jumped the stage at the end probably will disagree though.

Grammatics (Ronald Says 6 out of 10)
This band wasn't ready for the jump yet. Their music isn't exciting enough and that showed during their performance. They seem to have potential though so maybe next time?

Jack Peñate (Ronald Says 8 out of 10)
Not really my cup of tea but this guy had a great performance. His steamy and wild set had everyone jumping up and down even on the balcony. He showed a lot of effort and his cheery pop tunes appealed to a lot of people. His professional act and music is ready for the next step and I'm sure he will return to Paradiso as a single headliner soon.

After this highlight of the evening a sore back, many Heinekens and an early rise the next day made us decide to call it a night. Sorry Pyramidd, MPHO and Phenomenal Handclap Band. Hope to catch you another time.

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