One thing that is becoming increasingly apparent to me, is that local – “local” being Derby – accents don’t flatter alternative rock music very well. There seems to be two ways to tackle this problem, both of which I saw performed on last Sunday, at the Sitwell Tavern.
The first of these techniques comes from Cold Phobia, who I was surprised to learn had only played one gig prior to this. They choose the option of raising the vocals, and making them slightly deeper and harsher. Their set comprises of a mix of their own music, and a few covers, my favourite of which was Rise Against’s Hero Of War. Often, I felt the drummer (Harry Sandars) slightly overpowered the guitarist (Michael Woodward), so this cover gave the crowd ample chance to appreciate how well Brandon (Rigley, vocals) and Michael fitted together.
In their set, they chose to play their first online-release single, Remedy (which can be downloaded on SoundCloud). What really struck me was how much more energy they put into the live version – still as well performed as it was in the studio, but with more power, especially from Brandon. Sadly, before they had chance to play the last song, the band suffered from a broken guitar string. Nevertheless, “in the face of all adversity”, they played on – but not until after a ten minute break to change the string. It was worth the wait though, finishing on a floor-shaking cover of Green Day’s American Idiot.
The second band of the night, On The Open Road, tackle the vocal problem in a different manner – they chose to adjust the levels so Tom (Hawk, vocals) was all but overpowered. Where I would usually complain about this, I felt it suited the band particularly well, considering their genre. However, when they played an Angels and Airwaves cover, I felt it a shame that you couldn’t properly hear the vocal work.
On their most “pop-punky” song, Tom makes a good attempt to breathe some life into the crowd – given the venue and to say it was a Sunday night, he made an admirable effort. Anyway, I felt this was another song that didn’t benefit from the submerged vocals, especially in the chorus. Regards performance, it was clear why they got to headline a gig at Rescue Rooms not so long ago – even in such a small venue, the band filled the room and with a confidence and familiarity that showed they knew what they were doing.
Before the gig, I caught up with the guys in On The Open Road – you can check out the interview here.
On The Open Road