Review written by Livewire’s own Joe Day, plus photos from Shaun Gregson.
The semi finals arrived at last, and Livewire found itself overflowing with eager music lovers, much like it did when the competition had its first heat. Energy drinks in hand, lighters at the ready, lets go.
Bananas are a fantastic source of potassium, packed with tasty sugars and delicious fruitiness – a perfect way to start the day if you’re without cereal or toast. Bananas are also coincidentally Cousin Buzz’s new obsession, it seems, as was suggested by their proud display of 3 giant yellow monstrosities of health and prosperity (one for each member, naturally) as they marched gallantly onto the stage. This delightfully obscure introduction was the perfect setup for what would follow, as the experienced three-piece rocketed through a set that continued on from where the first left off, throwing a combination of joy, groove and rawness into the excitable audience’s awaiting arms and ears. Inflatable bananas flying wildly through empty space above bobbing heads, Buzz’s unique choice of wailing guitar grit, happy slappy funky fresh bass and ridiculous drum work infused together into a joyful pandemonium.
There was also somebody wearing a bee costume. Buzz has a history with bee-related things. I’m 999% sure the costume thing was planned, but there you go.
“Fun for all the family”
“Action packed set, starring Arthur”
As It Stands
Oh look, they’re back. Again.
That’s right, after winning in the wildcard tournament the previous week, Newton Abbot’s pop punk pride and joy is back for a third round of edge and angst, dragging us back into the world of pizza, misunderstanding parents and, of course, leaving one’s home town. Not to say that the reentering of this familiar world is unpleasant, however, as it’s always a pleasure to see the Tortex necklaces bouncing, floppy hair flopping and breakdowns breaking. Bassist Joe Kime was particularly noticeable this time around due to his ‘laying down’ of ‘sick moves’ throughout the set, featuring impressively high jumps and rather fabulous pirouettes, proving to everybody that 12 years of ballet training can come in useful from time to time. Jack Potters dynamic range of vocal styles drove the set through it’s rollercoaster-like changes of pace, moving from clean emotion ridden singsong to unsettling screaming in a heartbeat, and then back again before you could say pepperoni. This band is never going to grow up, but it certainly doesn’t need to.
“Jesus Chris is watching, Amen”
As the only remaining folk act in the competition, The Woods are at an immediate advantage in that they’re backed up by individuality. They themselves realised this, as the set they delivered was like nothing heard before in this competition.
A seamless transformation occurred within the halls of Livewire as masterful musicians blanketed the audience in a thick, sleepy haze of warmth and audible presence, dreamy vocal harmonies echoing through the space whilst soothing finger-style guitar lullabied each audience member into a blissful trance, captivated by an eclectic blend of perfectly balanced elements working together fantastically. This trance was then shortly broken by a full, exhilarating instrumental finisher, taken gladly by an audience whom, as if on cue, proceeded to jig their socks off to a powerful, even sinister creation. With so much aggression and noise within the competition, the refreshing reminder of a simpler age and area of music brought joy to all those that were treated to The Wood’s unique and proud performance.
“Don’t let Dan do it”
Apparently drummer Dan isn’t trustworthy. Who knew?
Ten Zero One
After a change around in the roster, all eyes were on new guitarist Alex Wilson as he stood alongside the familiar faces of Plymouth’s Ten Zero One as they blasted through their set, creating a wall of sound that was pierced by a ridiculously satisfying and awe-inspiring use of harmonics throughout verses and various choruses. The solidarity of this band and their sound is unrivalled, as it appears to an onlooker as if they are one, brought together and welded into a single musician by talent and passion for the noise they create. From start to finish, controlled yet trashy guitar riffs drove each song into a slightly different tone, illustrating what could well have been a single 15 minute song separated into 3 different, seamless sections. The 4 friends stood their ground and fought the competition fiercely.
“You’ll have to watch us”
With so much talent on offer, it’s near impossible to imaging the difficulty the judges experienced when trying to decide on their 2 winners for this first semi-final. A decision was finally made however: Ten Zero One and Cousin Buzz will be going head to head in Livewire’s Grand Final!
Next weeks 2nd Semi final will feature: Refuge of the Fallen, Common Logic, Helvelyn, Dead Snakes.