Finding the Nexus with minutes to spare, I pass the entrance and see several people queuing outside to get in. ‘Looks like it could be busy tonight’ I think to myself as I park my car in the spot most likely to minimize the chance of a break in (anyone who has been to the Nexus will know what I mean). Damage limitation sorted, I jog to the entrance of the venue, not wanting to miss any of Koogaphone, a band that I have never heard of but checked out beforehand and quite enjoyed.
I need not have panicked however, as the place is deserted. Those people I had seen queuing to get in are the only non-band or bar related personnel in the building, and there are 3 of them. Things are running slightly behind schedule, however I get the feeling the organizers are allowing a bit more time for more people to turn up. This doesn’t happen, so Koogaphone take to the stage in front of a large empty dancefloor intended to entertain lively drunken gig-goers.
Before going on the lack of audience doesn’t seem to affect the band members, and they take to the stage with the sort of swagger expected of a much bigger band playing a much fuller venue. From the off these guys and gals are clearly enjoying being onstage; the tall guitarist hunches over his guitar wrestling with his axe in a competition he’s never going to win and I have never seen anyone so amazingly delighted to be playing the bass. The front woman is putting on her own little show too, crooning and gyrating like some possessed guitar-wielding temptress. Gulp.
This is the general experience for the first few songs, but the strain of performing in front of next to no-one eventually starts to show. The drummer seems to lose interest pretty quickly and is soon just going through the motions, whilst that tall guitarist seems to have admitted defeat in the battle between man and 6-string. Perhaps it’s that stereotypical male need for pride that’s to blame, because the girls admirably maintain their composure throughout. The front woman is full of attitude, sounding like the Be Your Own Pet vocalist covering Fleetwood Mac, whilst that bassist still won’t stop grinning.
The girls are Koogaphone’s not-so-secret secret weapon, ensuring they maintain stage presence as well as displaying some vocal harmonies that add that extra little touch of quality to the frankly muddy sound in this huge empty room. Alright so many of their songs sound similar and the plodding drum/guitar section designed to build tension is wasted on this occasion, but as Smashy (or Nicey, I can never remember which) declares the end of their set, the band are victorious, performing in circumstances that lesser bands would have submitted to from the off.
Guest article from Matt S.
Written by Guest Writers on