Live (Hidden Agenda / The Plants)
A near capacity Thursday night at Salisbury’s Old Ale House saw the sort of quality three band line up which would certainly not look out of place on a prime time Saturday-night billing.
First up, and playing only their fourth gig, The Plants crept onto the stage with a level of nervousness reflected by their short experience. Dressed in black tee-shirts, jeans, and trainers, and sporting matching crew cuts, the Salisbury three-piece cut a simple sharp retro look, just toned (worn) down for that modern feel. Musically, though, it soon became obvious that this band is far more complicated.
Kicking off with the laid back rocker ‘Step Up’, the first thing that became apparent was how together these musicians were. Stemming from Rich Senior’s exquisitely tight and creative drumming, Dave Matthews melodically gifted bass runs were given the perfect framework in which to develop the song, leaving Rich Stone’s guitar work to add the punch and rhythm where needed.
Unfortunately, after a promising start the proverbial broken guitar string lost much of the momentum the opener had created – a spare guitar and maybe a few revealing confessions to the audience (see Get Amped below) would have helped keep this up but this is something which will no doubt come with experience.
With the old technical difficulties now resolved The Plants proceeded to slowly re-ignite their set, which by the end, had gone down rather well with the traditionally reserved Salisbury punters.
Highlights of the set were the funk edged rocker entitled ‘Words’, with its hip swinging verse contrasting with the meaty, guitar driven chorus and the ska-tinged head nodder, ‘Taxi 20’. (If you think Queens of the Stone Age meets the Jam with added smidgens of funk and ska, you’re nearly there.)
In all, it was fair to say that despite the obvious nerves and the unfortunate string breaking/tuning incident, every one of the nine songs on offer came across as distinctive. Couple this with the very high level of musicianship displayed and The Plants are certainly a band we expect to be hearing much more from in the future.
Next up, and displaying far too much energy for such a small stage, was metal/emo band, Hidden Agenda. Comprising of a delicate balance of two boys and two girls, it was clear from the start that despite their relatively young age, this was a professional outfit.
Veering towards the harder end of emo, Hidden Agenda’s brand of Tool tinged metal may have initially caused some minor shock waves in the audience but, by the end of the set, it was received well.
Given most of their songs are technically complex with tempo changes galore, this is perhaps not the most accessible of material for the first time listener seeing them live. That said, the similar high levels of musicianship coupled with some strategically placed hooks, all delivered with seemingly boundless energy, ensured that every tune was interesting while also providing a compelling visual performance.
Perhaps the highlight of the set was the last tune, and current single, ‘Our Secret’, with its catchy chorus and excellent riffing but it is also worth noting ‘Arty Crook’ (apologies if the title is wrong) with it’s creative use of the phaser pedal and the excellent ‘All or Nothing’, all of which showcased Roxanne Johns excellent vocals.
A great band to see in the flesh and well worth the effort. However, I would recommend having a listen to their recorded work first to fully appreciate the live spectacle.
Last up, and headlining the night, were Bournemouth’s favourite, Get Amped.
Now… a lot has been written about Get Amped before and it’s fair to say that they are certainly one of those bands that we get quite excited about here at The Mag. That said, I think the boys from Get Amped will probably agree that this would not rate in their top ten best gigs.
Coming in the middle of an exhausting touring and recording schedule, while also still suffering the after effects of a bout of flu, the fact that they bounced on stage with the sort of enthusiasm most bands only muster when playing home-town gigs is testimony to their incredible professionalism.
Kicking off with melodically strong rocker ‘Down 2 Us’ it was clear that while a little bit of work was needed with the vocal mix, they were there to do the best show they could and that is exactly what they delivered.
As always Tim and Rick’s guitar work was as tight as ever – however, it was clear that despite the exhausting schedule, Dougal was having a wail of time; bashing the skins with only partially controlled aggression he provided a solid backdrop for the brothers to do their thing, while still managing to look a like a more handsome version of the Muppet’s Animal.
For the most part the majority of songs on offer were from the excellent ‘Phoney Society’ album but there were also a few new tunes slipped in including the first single off the new album, ‘Tyrannosaurus’, which went down rather well as did the rather brilliant ‘DJ – God of The Zombies’.
‘Too Far’ gave Rick a chance to muster the rather reluctant crowd into a sing-a-long (led by the plucky, and probably slightly pissed, Becky) while the gap between ‘Celebrity’ and ‘In The Dark’ gave Rick an impromptu opportunity to confess his long standing pornographic addictions (which reminds me there’s a good chance an old copy of Razzle is still stuffed down the back of my old wardrobe in my mum’s house).
All in all, after receiving a reasonably apathetic reaction at the start, it was clear that by the end of the set Get Amped had won over the vast majority of the audience and that, after all, is what it’s all about.
With just a couple of gigs in the next fortnight, all roads now lead to the single launch party scheduled for 15th April 2005 where Get Amped are promising to put on one of those shows to live long in the memory, at London’s Astoria.
Written by Habert on