Tuesday 27 November 2012

Bigger Is Better For City Reign

About a year ago I watched Manchester band City Reign perform for the first time. The four lads were playing a tiny venue somewhere in Amsterdam while a few people and their family were watching. Everyone was so nice there and although I was already following the band a bit longer, these friendly musicians deserved more of my attention. So it was very good news when they announced to visit us again.

City Reign at Winston Amsterdam, November 22 2012

Dutch music blog Apply Some Pressure, who are excited about the band as well and have been following them very closely, helped them pick two Dutch bands as support act so they were able play the Winston. Unfortunately can't to get to the venue in time and therefore have to miss Sur Nilsson and Dakota. I get in just in time, to see City Reign take the stage for only a handful of people including of course their great supportive family. But I guess a full house was not to be expected.

As I walk in I bump into one of the guys' parents, who tells me the band had a bit of trouble reaching the venue and therefore missed the sound check. The beginning of the set is therefore a bit messy sound wise. But slowly this is taken care of and after a while the balance is a lot better. Finally we're able to hear how much progress the band made over the past year. I'm glad to hear they have kept on growing. Although for this gig drummer Duncan Bolton's brother is filling in on bass, the band sounds pretty tight. The pleasant songs have more depth and the new ones sound very promising. The songs are continuing in the "Madchester" tradition, inspired by bands like The Smiths, along with Britpop giants Oasis and Blur. Also echoes from The Cure and R.E.M. sound through.

In general their sound got bigger, which gives the songs more body and variation. The nice guitar parts of Micheal Grice and singer Chris Bull, are sometimes gently and playfully ringing. At other times they turn into solid and heavy rock riffs. But combined with Bull's pleasant voice and nice harmonies it never gets too rough. Built upon a solid foundation the songs are firmly standing upright. The band are definitely finding their own sound and are growing comfortable with it. This is also obvious from the song 'Ahead Of Ideas' that they released recently, ahead of the release of their first full length record in February.

It's obvious City Reign worked very hard in the past year. You notice that this band is very serious about their music. Their effort and dedication is praiseworthy. When they continue growing like this and with some luck, 2013 could be a turnaround year. If their album can get enough attention and the songs some airplay, they may be looking at bigger venues to play. I sincerely hope so since these guys deserve it. The band and their sound are definitely ready for that.

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  1. nice review!
    next show to check out isLondon band EDITSELECT on 10th January at The Waterhole.
    City Reign are pals!

  2. Sounds good. Maybe I'll drop by. The Waterhole is cool place to play!