Kerrang! Presented

Ikes Kansis & New Hole In Her Head & Beg To Differ

Thursday 25th April, 2002

The Charlotte, Leicester, ENGLAND.

A Kerrang! sponsored night and what must be the worse turnout ever, for a 'named' band playing here at the Charlotte. It's a Thursday night, okay so it's not the weekend, but where the fuck is everyone. This sort of attendance outside London is becoming so typical and it's going to kill live rock music in all other parts of this country. If people can't be arse'd to come out and support the bands then we will end up not having any bands to support. It is so fucking annoying!   Guys, just think about it...  Five bands for three quid.

Ikes Kansis were the opening band and played a twenty minutes set of MOR-like easy listening rock tunes. They were followed by New Hole In Her Head who had some good songs augmented by a pretty decent set of vocals. There was also a nice addition of electronic keyboards and they seemed to have a slight gothic vibe emanating from deep inside. Beg To Differ really didn't appeal, their music seemed very jaded, lacked any character and used too many impotent and overused cords which resulted in boring songs.

It was a real step up in standards when Torna-K took to the stage. Even before they began to play, just the feeling of a presence on stage made an instant difference. These were personalities with a penchant to entertain and they were ready to go. It didn't seem to matter that there were probably only 20-30 people watching, they were determined to put everything into their show and that is exactly what they did.

Excellent and well-played hard rock was the gist of their performance with the most impressive vocals that at times reminded me of Mike Tramp in a Freak Of Nature kind of way. These boys from the south of England (that's all but the vocalist who is a New Zealander and has an affinity for high-kicks) produced an extremely tight and professional set, which seemed to pass in an instant. It was a thoroughly entertaining style that more than tips a hat to the traditional side of rock but very much brings it into the modern age both in influence and execution.

There is a definite feeling of that X-factor here. It was the stunning quality of the vocals that were easily maintained in a live environment and that guy's great stage presence. It was the whole band's professionalism and ability to play an impressive set against the adversity of having no crowd or atmosphere. It was the whole package of style and content. These guys were easily the band of the night and are well worth watching out for.

Breed 77 didn't come on stage until well after 11:30pm.  It had been quite a long night and even the paltry crowd that had populated the venue like hairs on Homer's head earlier in the evening, had been further reduced by the calling of bedtime (or by some giant grooming implement?). It was great to see this band at last, they have always held a lot of personal interest with their raw and individual take on modern metal with a classic rock core. They produced a fine display of many great songs, Rise, Karma and Eyes That See spring to mind. There is no doubt that this band produces some beautiful music, powerful and emotive with some of the most magical vocals and mature song writing. It's a pleasure to listen to and this performance didn't disappoint. It was a great bonus to see them in such a small venue and have the added enjoyment of hearing those songs performed with the extra edge and power that comes with a live show.

However, the end of the show left you feeling disappointed, even let down and that was a real shame. It often involves more than just the music to complete the full band experience, and in a live environment you can't help but get involved with other factors, not least of all personalities. Tonight it was unfortunate that the vocalist displayed a very limited repertoire with the audience and in-between every song harped on about the poor turnout and seemed intent on belittling those few that had bothered to attend. Initially his comments were quite amusing. For instance, while pointing to the couple of leery, ageing rockers that had obviously travelled with the band, he cracked that the band had to bring their own crowd. These were the only people standing near the stage and who were at least attempting to dance albeit in a 'hehe, look at dad dance' kind of way. But you see it was quite funny, but after the third, four and fifth time the subject became tiresome, it became a little harder to take (as we had actually paid to see this) and was ultimately only successful in isolating the few poor punters that had bothered to be there. Make your thoughts known by all means but learn when to stop, that would seem to be the best advice for this situation.

Anyway, it's quite interesting because this sort of situation (where the audience is meagre) really does seem to show the true colours of a band. It can impress or nauseate, it can make a life long fan or turn away potential interest. One thing is for sure, people will always go away with an impression and an opinion, and I'll leave you to judge mine.


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