Friday, 17 April 2009

Live Review: Give It A Name Introduces - April 16th 2009

With the famous "Give It A Name" title suggesting wave after wave of emo, there's a surprising number of bulky, bearded metal heads gracing the O2 Academy 3 on this rainy evening, and it's quite obvious that they're not there to see perky Floridians, VersaEmerge. The young majority, however, are. As soon as Sierra Kusterbeck and her male band mates hit the stage, everyone's screaming, waving arms and dancing. And whilst Sierra's good looks and amazing stage presence alone are keeping the male fans staring straight at her, the girls in the audience don't seem nearly as interested until the set's nearly over and the boys take their shirts off. Aesthetics aside, VersaEmerge definitely know how to make the crowd happy, whether it be with unbelievably catchy songs, or with jokes about Walkers crisp flavours.

Up next is Lights, a little-known group hailing from Toronto. Their female vocalist will, at first, make you think of Technologic by Daft Punk, simply because of the tone of her voice. After a while though, that becomes a brilliant advantage, making Lights stand out in any crowd. Their music sounds almost like the result of a Hannah Montana and Hellogoodbye remix, but in the best way possible. The keyboardist seems more excited than anyone else on stage, nearly knocking over his equipment several times, but the audience is more than pleased, and bopping along to every song, mostly involuntarily, to the endlessly catchy riffs and beats. But really, how could you not fall in love with a band who momentarily cover I Want It That Way?!

No one really knew what to think when dreadlocked Whole Wheat Bread walked on stage to a backing track of Kanye West's latest album and started sound checking some heavy drums. Most people seemed uninterested. But that all changed when they started playing music. Whole Wheat Bread were a rap / punk rock cross, with choruses you can't help but sing along with, and more than enough "When I say 'Whole Wheat', you say 'Bread'!". Their comical lyrics and wholesome feel got the entire crowd raving and jumping about like there was no tomorrow. At the end of their set, endless chants lead to an encore, which was more than appreciated by their new-found fans. Job done, then.

Personally, I was unimpressed by In This Moment, but it was obvious everyone over 25 disagreed with me, and clear that ITM was the only reason they were there. With their heavier style, they weren't typical GIAN material, but there was nothing wrong with them in terms of talent. However, Maria Brink's croaking brought the whole performance down, resulting in what sounded more like karaoke than professional musicians.

All in all, it seems the GIAN guys put together a decent line-up, and have pretty much determined the small-scale ones to watch for 2009. Let's see if they can beat that next year.

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