Sonic Underground
Live (Clear / Forest Giants)

As all bands and gig goers know, technical difficulties can easily ruin a great night of entertainment. How this disaster was averted tonight at The Joiners I do not know. Despite challenging conditions, all three bands managed to produce an impressive performance in the face of feedback, broken cables, and a generally atrocious sound-mix.

Opening act, Forest Giants, immediately brought to mind an eccentric mix of bands such as Morrisy, Pavement. and early James. Both singles, ‘Postcards’ and ‘Closure’, were promising tracks – as was most of the set in fact.

There was a certain simplicity to the music that made it rather accessible and the crowd warmed to the style as the set progressed. Forest Giants ended with an anthemic emotional track titled ‘Stars’; and they were.

A special note should be made about their drummer, who’s creativity set off each track very well.

Clear stepped up next and really sold each song, with a selection of tunes that postively bounced along. They conjured up a merger of early Travis and Turin Brakes, but there was some ephemeral quality that made them stand out.

The bass player amused the crowd between songs and my only criticism would be that the lead guitar was, perhaps, a little over-played and repetitive. It is possible to have too much of a good thing and the undoubtedly talented finger-picking did start to detract from the otherwise awesome songs. High points of their performance included ‘We All Get Screwed’ and ‘Overdrawn’, which both featured stunning vocal harmonies.

Technical difficulties plagued Sonic Underground for most of their set, but this didn’t seem to be able to stop their freight-train of noise and energy, which seemed to gain momentum with each song. The music demonstrated an eccentric genius, with each song sounding like the hooks almost had to be restrained for the safety of the general public. The purer rock tracks were instantly memorable and the complexity of some of the other tracks demanded immediate attention.

Sonic Underground’s bass player, guitarist and front man are obviously talented musicians but they are also savvy enough to know not to over do it, after all – it’s not a contest. This band is tight, even if a little frustrated with the technical problems, and their songs can speak for themselves.

Written by Fenton on

Steve Fenton writes in our music, words, and culture categories. He was Editor in Chief for The Mag and covered live music for DV8 Magazine and Spill Magazine. He was often found in venues throughout the UK alongside ace-photographer, Mark Holloway. Steve is also a technical writer and programmer and writes gothic fiction. Steve studied Psychology at OSC, and Anarchy in the UK: A History of Punk from 1976-1978 at the University of Reading.

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