HEAT THREE – Friday night
There’s not really any getting round the fact there weren’t many people there Friday night. With two bands dropping out this time thus halving (at least) the number of fans in attendance, I briefly considered nipping off for a shave and trying to sneak in at the last minute as a battered-looking 19 year old a capella singer. But for the two bands that did show: SuperMassiveMonkeyMen and Northampton’s The Lab Rats, it was a great chance to make Saturday night’s final…
There’s a deceptive ease to the way frontman Myles plays guitar and provides the focus for SuperMassiveMonkeyMen. He comes across as casual and self-deprecating (introducing their best song with an apology that they’ll probably get it wrong!), and appears to be laidback while simultaneously playing what seems to me at least to be pretty complex lead guitar riffs. They’re an indie-punk trio with a dash of scuzzy blues at times – the bass player and drummer form an exceedingly tight, reliable rhythm section for Myles to play over. Despite the circumstances they play a really impressive set, one of the best of the week for me.
THE LAB RATS
It’s difficult to review The Lab Rats without mentioning the Arctic Monkeys – I lost count near the end, but I think 6 or 7 of their 10-song set were covers of Sheffield’s finest. They did them pretty well, don't get me wrong – but it was so Arctics-heavy a set that by the time they played some other stuff I couldn’t get the Arctics out of my head! The singer-rhythm guitar kid seemed to be smashed off his box to start with, mumbling and repeating himself in between the songs, but wasn’t having any problem with the lyrics at least. Their best choon was called “Danny’s Riff”, which had a kind of reggae beat – I’m assuming that one wasn’t a cover, which bodes well for them in the future. They finished with “I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor” (of course!) and a cover of “Wipeout” which showed how good the drummer was – that one takes stamina!
In the end I think this was one of those weird-vibed gigs that all young bands – and some not so young, I can vouch for that! – have to go through at one stage or another. For the first time this week though I backed a winner – SuperMassiveMonkeyMen sneaked it and take their place in the Grand Final with Knuckle*Down and Hikaru... and it’s anyone’s guess who could take the ultimate crown! I’m looking forward to finding out!