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The reason I like to do things in 5s: Destine, Dave Giles, The Ocean’s Eyes, 8th Time Luckie and Room 94 at The Rescue Rooms, Nottingham (22/03/2012)

April 6, 2012

Sometimes, you see something, and you know you’re in for an interesting night. When I arrived outside The Rescue Rooms just before 6pm on 22nd March, there was a man, barefoot (that’s right, without shoes…) talking to the waiting crowd. This perplexed me, but before long he disappeared and I thought no more of it. It later transpired that this man was Dave Giles, who I will talk more about in a bit. But seeing him standing there barefoot on the street chatting away let me know I was in for something special.

When the doors opened, a little bit late, I could already hear the first band, Destine (who’d come all the way from Holland, don’t you know…) starting their set. Even though their music, which is quite similar to that of bands like Fall Out Boy and All Time Low, was toe-tappingly good, the young 40-strong crowd seemed  unenthused, which was a bit disappointing as Destine deserved better. Their finale number, a punked up cover of Jay Sean’s “Down”, was brilliant and I couldn’t help but sing along. And then an unusual thing happened. Instead of disappearing backstage never to return, the band cleared their instruments off the stage, and then hung around, chatting with the crowd, posing for photos, stuff bands don’t do all that often.

And then Dave Giles took to the stage, you know, the barefoot man that was chatting outside and who had also continued to chat with the crowd inside while Destine were packing up to make space for him, armed with just an acoustic guitar (and, I later spotted, a harmonica that he played one-man band fashion without using his hands!). An independent singer/songwriter, Dave is obviously very talented and is a wonderfully entertaining performer, but he’s also just about the least corporate and industry-ish musician I’ve ever come across. He’s not afraid to be moved by his own music and his song “Strongest Man in the World”, about his grandfather, is incredibly touching. He isn’t afraid to acknowledge his mistakes either – he forgot his lyrics and dropped notes here but he just said “oops!” and carried on

Like Destine, Dave stuck around after he’d finished his set, handing out free badges (purple badges!) and posing for photos with the crowd , including us (left). After the gig, he found us both on Twitter and I noticed some of his other follows were other people who’d been at the gig too. When he makes such an effort to engage his fans and build relationships with them, it’s no wonder they love him. He’s not just a great musician, he’s a lovely, lovely bloke too.

The Ocean's EyesThen,The Ocean’s Eyes were up. You may remember that a while ago, we wrote this review of  them and what was at the time, their latest release “Room of Red”. This was the song they opened with, which I have to say sounds as good live as it does recorded (the mark of any good artist, as we all know!) and I was impressed with them from the off. They had a fabulous stage presence throughout their set; Luke McInroy (vocals) threw himself around the small stage, clambering up the stacks of amps as though they were a child’s climbing frame and hanging out over the crowd so far that I thought he was going to fall on top of us, and at one point even running off into the audience with his mike while still singing. Even though the audience weren’t going wild, The Ocean’s Eyes at least held their attention and when they too re-emerged after clearing away their instruments when they finished, they had quite a crowd around them who had obviously been won over. More impressive than their musical performance was this one – they handled the gushing adolescent girls surrounding them with such grace and humility, signing autographs, listening to them politely and posing for photos. I’m not even ashamed to say that we joined the crowd to chat with them a bit about how they were finding the tour and to quickly show them some of the photos we’d taken.

Next up were 8th Time Luckie, a 3 man strong pop-punk outfit from London. While they were playing, I started to feel a bit bad for them because the crowd were pretty static and seemed bored. I still can’t decide whether that was because they didn’t think the band were any good or because asking a load of 14-16 year olds to concentrate on something for this length of time is impossible.I suspect a combination of the two. Of the 5 bands that played, 8th Time Luckie were, I’m sorry to say, my least favourite. They didn’t have the same energy and ability to hold the crowd as the acts that came before them, and were the only ones to comment on this. I’m pretty sure telling your audience, directly or otherwise, that they’re being a bit rubbish is about the worst thing you can do as a performer. Musically they were good, but not particularly memorable, and they were around in the crowd more before their set than afterwards, when they seemed pretty much to disappear.

Finally, Room 94 took to the stage and it became clear that the crowd had been holding in their excitement and energy for the headliners. A pop-rock outfit from Hertfordshire who name Taking Back Sunday, All Time Low and New Found Glory among their influences, their music was better live than I expected it to be. Their covers medley was little short of pure genius – I always like to hear punked up covers anyway but to hear them give a bit of One Direction, Bruno Mars and, yes, Justin Bieber the pop-punk treatment was amazing. I wouldn’t be surprised if one day, they feature on a covers compilation like Punk Goes Pop.

The crowd was much livelier than it’d been all evening – they were dancing (properly!) and shouting out to the band, especially when they questioned the looks and talent of Justin Bieber! When their set was coming to a close and they invited the crowd to hang around for a bit afterwards to chat with them, you could almost sense the excitement. Even though I didn’t stay to witness it, I just know they will have been swarmed.

I’ve never been to a gig as intimate as this one before. It felt more like an open mic nite than a formal gig and that was great. Yeah, the crowd were a bit of a let down and while I could have listened to the music forever, I’d definitely had enough of the underage girls who thought they were older than they were after a couple of hours. You can’t blame a band for who their fans are though.


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