Last Updated on March 5, 2023
Originally published in Beat Motel issue 3
That this is the third acoustic night put on by Er,, Promotions proves that not all bands are arsey about compromising their sound to have a good time. Plus the fact that most of the bands playing tonight don’t normally perform this way backs this up point further.
Keeping with the tradition of having what seems to be far too many bands crammed in to play in four hours (god bless Andrew), the night kicks off just after seven. Up first are The Zooks (or two of them anyway). I must confess I’d never heard them before tonight and perhaps this wasn’t the best way to be introduced to their music.
Granted, it’s always daunting opening an evening such as this, but I felt that tonight they were more than a little flat. The singer’s voice was slightly off-key and it didn’t flow with the guitar particularly well. But fair play to them; they still seem to be quite young and they went up there and did their thing, maybe a few more rehearsals is in order though.
Next up was James from Things Found In Sharks. This was an act I had been looking forward to seeing and he didn’t disappoint. For the first song he seemed to be adjusting to playing on his own, but the smile on his face throughout his set proved how much he was enjoying it. Playing mainly T.F.I.S’s songs he looked relaxed and when the songs were stripped down, it became apparent just how much of a good songwriter James really is.
Up next was another act I had been wanting to see for a long while. Playing under the name The Camden Leisure Pirate, Jammo took to the stage looking more than a little nervous. As soon as he launched into ‘Scatterbrain’ though I was transfixed.
All too many times you see singers copying other people’s styles and trying to sound like something their not, but Jammo’s voice was something of pure brilliance. Sounding slightly like Tom Yorke in places, Doherty in others, he whispered, sang and slurred his way through a brilliant set of originals. Absolutely brilliant.
Having the unfortunate job of having to follow that was Soma. Having only seen this band live once before, I still wasn’t totally familiar to their style. Having a female singer will always get you more interest and tonight they reeked with confidence. Playing powerful yet laid back songs is no bad thing and tonight Soma did themselves no harm with a tight, well executed set.
Playing next was a band I’ve heard a lot about but still hadn’t heard – Penny Red. They seem to really love what they’re doing and they are good at it, it just isn’t my thing. They played with confidence which showed their experience, but to me the songs seemed to not really go anywhere and I found them a little, well, boring. Following Penny Red were One:Day:Life who have started to gather quite a following over the last couple of years.
While they are good at what they do, I find them at times a little predictable, (well, let’s be honest, you could be deaf and know what’s about to happen), but playing acoustic I thought they were very easy on the ears and their legion of fans there loved every minute of it. Not terribly sure about that Busted cover though…
Next up was an act who had also played at the first of these acoustic nights, Tornado Smith. Donning their suites as ever, complete with an unusual but brilliant vocalist, they began to play their way through a collection of heart warming songs. While the singers voice was not the strongest I have heard it, he put on a great show, as did the bassist and second guitarist.
The constant smiling of other guitarist Leif put EVERYONE in a good mood and new song ‘One Foot In Front Of The Other’ was the set highlight for me. A melancholy song, it was a perfect interlude towards the end of the set. New drummer Andy seems to have fitted in perfectly to the fold (albeit playing only one drum and an egg shaker tonight).
With a debut album coming out very soon, Tornado Smith put in a performance to be proud of. Finally tonight, headliners The Tuscan Raider took the stage to sadly a half empty pub. Still this didn’t deter them at all. Still slightly unfamiliar to many on the Ipswich scene, this is the third time I’ve seen this band live and each time I like them more and more. It’s so refreshing when a band like this comes along, not caring about conventions, playing what they want, how they want.
They let their influences show, but don’t plagiarise. Tonight Alan’s voice is impeccable and they are fast becoming one of my favourite bands around the area at the moment. Having just released their new single – ‘Find A Way Through’ this is a band that I suggest you see live. Sharpish.
So as another acoustic night draws to a close, you get the feeling that perhaps a lot of people missed out on something special by not coming along.
- Marc Newby