The Tangents EP launch at The Maze, Nottingham

As much an evening festival as it was an EP launch, Joe & Mike were the first of the five acts of the night. Whilst technically speaking the band might have been a two piece, for one reason or another they had a session bassist join them. The two vocalists (lead and rhythm guitar) lead the song, and through about half the songs the extra member did little but stand and chew gum, being somewhat off putting. Joe and Mike gave a fairly Jake Bugg-esque performance, easily likeable but slightly simplistic, with noticeably similar vocals and lyricism clear enough to wrap you in. The differences in the comparison were highlighted with the band’s cover of Lighting Bolt, which lacked some of the depth and power Bugg puts into it; that said, otherwise the cover was the best I’ve heard of the track. Featuring a harmonica in the last song added a country twist to the pair’s performance. 

To put it lightly, a wall of sound opened The Irish Chemists’ show, and one that obliterated the effect of the vocals, let alone the effects on the vocals. That isn’t to say it wasn’t good; with such force it would take a certain talent to get the piece so well orchestrated, but it didn’t open in the most accessible manner. Turn your eyes away from the look of the band and you could be convinced you were listening to the heavy end of garage psychedelia, but the bog standard rock look threw this. With this heavy sound – continued through the first handful of tracks – there came an implied heavy concentration, though this would’ve possibly been down to the immobility of those on stage. After a while the delay began to feel like it was being used for the sake of it, and these tiny problems were what made the show so nagging; The Irish Chemists were so very close to perfect.

Being an all girl band shouldn’t have to be a gimmick, but in the case of Babe Punch it almost felt as though it was trying to be. First impressions weren’t helped as nerves showed, and what should’ve been a lively show came across as nervous fidgeting, with the two vocalists not always harmonising as well as they could have. The slower tracks of the show were where the band began to show their real talent, with a significant amount more control and focus impacting the timing and making for a tighter show – to say they’ve not been formed too long, Babe Punch are definitely on the right lines, but they’ve a way to go yet. Final support The Sights provided a refreshing dip into indie rock with their performance, with the tightest and most impressive set of the warm-ups.

From the opening chords of The Tangents’ headline act, there was no mistaking the strong Arctic Monkey’s influence running through the music – to a non-fan, the two could’ve been considered indistinguishable. From the opening chords they sounded AM-esque, by the time the chorus kicked in they fully did, the main advantage they had over the world famous superstars being that they had a flare of originality through the electric and percussion driven moments. As my plus one so neatly said, “it’s good, but it’s a bit annoying because it’s already been done”.

A touch of harsh vocals added another personal slant to the performance, and as the show progressed they moved further away from the obvious, despite a slight prima donna attitude continuing (mirroring the perceived one of Alex Turner). Fun, almost dancey songs were perfect to entice the crowd, and regardless of the influences to the band’s music, they put on a show that was distinctly enjoyable. A couple of fancy riffs were thrown in and proved their originality, with lengthy solos bigging up what they conquered. A Stone Roses encore wound up the night – and what a night it was.

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