Saturday, 11 September 2010

The Winter Tradition - Edinburgh Sneaky Pete's - Saturday 4th September 2010

Sneaky Pete’s is one of those music venues that, when you first enter, you wonder what possessed anyone to turn it into such a venue in the first place. This isn’t to say it’s a bad little place just that it is very little. People who think that anything less than a 1000 capacity counts as intimate need to see this place; which I struggle to believe can hold many more than 100.

Despite being very small the place is nearer empty than full when opening band Your Neighbour The Liar take to the stage. The quartet get through six or seven decent songs with ‘Circus’ being probably the pick of the bunch. They seem to take strongly to the school of interspersing melodic post-rock guitar picking with occasional bursts of distorted riffage. However the strength of their songwriting as yet means that whenever they choose to burst into heaviness it is not the least bit surprising. Indeed most of the material they showcase is pretty samey; it is especially noticeable that all of the first three songs they play feature the band choosing to sing away from their microphones to create the ‘distant group vocals’ effect used to better advantage in recent times by contemporaries such as The Xcerts. The band’s use of handclapping also comes across as being a little weird; there’s never a reason why a drummer should be sitting behind his kit clapping instead of actually playing. Overall not a bad performance and there is potential in the band that may well be realised in the near future.

From what I know about the band, Glasgow’s Lightguides should probably be headlining this gig. The trio’s beguilingly mathy time signatures echo the likes of This Town Needs Guns and Adebisi Shank while they still retain a certain sing-along element reminiscent of their fellow Glaswegians in Twin Atlantic; for whom they were ‘secret support’ at a huge gig at Glasgow’s ABC a while back. The lack of bass player is far from something holding them back; in fact it frees up room for impressive guitar and, especially, drum work. Aside from the obvious quality of their music Lightguides are great to watch and the fact they have a fan who has come all the way from Essex to see them play speaks volumes. Despite the fact that they seem to accidentally knock over pretty much everything they can whilst on stage (the drummer’s mic in particular doesn’t want to hold up) they still play a blinder of a set. This is a band that should be a lot bigger than they are and, judging by the reaction of the crowd during their set, they are the band with the largest share of fans present; this is made especially noticeable by the fact that the band remain on stage for longer than originally planned with a rendition of ‘Midget Gem’ following chants of “one more song” in the Edinburgh venue.

All this makes the task of recently renamed The Winter Tradition more difficult than it needs to be. Having recently changed their name from The Void, the band are promoting the release of a new single, ‘Firelight’. Despite being a local act the band attracted a meagre audience of around 12 people to an acoustic instore session the day before this gig but thankfully more people have turned up tonight. Whilst their set is packed with punchy choruses aplenty there is little that makes the band stand out in the same way as so many Scottish acts nowadays. Soundwise they are a little like a halfway point between Twin Atlantic and The Twilight Sad. The band don’t get much of a reaction when they first come on stage but by the time ‘Firelight’ and ‘Game of Ghosts’ have rounded off their set everyone seems to be enjoying themselves. Lightguides still should have headlined though.

Your Neighbour The Liar – 5/10
Lightguides – 8/10
The Winter Tradition – 6/10