Hola, as my Trestles review didn't go up on Gobshites, I thought I'd post it here. They're playing the o2 academy in Liverpool. GO GO GO there, because of this review:
“Too much is mediocre, it’s just alright.” So says Al O’Hare, one quarter and lead singer of The Trestles. Last night was living proof of that. The two acts either side of The Trestle’s stellar performance fade into obscurity in my mind. The first, a capable but strained performance from youngsters “Half Cut Harry” (www.myspace.com/halfcutharry) who have notes of Keane, James Blunt and The Fray – all OK, all mediocre. Honestly, they were acceptable, and kudos must go to the bassist who played with a broken jaw, but with a lead singer whose mind and voice wandered elsewhere, there was little charisma to the band. High points were their cover of “Whiskey in the Jar” and the impassioned “Silver Rain”. I would recommend them as a young act with promise, but in my mind they still have a way to go.
Next up were The Trestles. Al O’Hare’s considerable stage presence resonated with Billy Bragg zeal, as he sang of Liverpool and beyond. The band were strong, and seemed to light up Zanzibar, the darkest bar I have ever visited, with a wave of sound.
They opened their section of the show with “The Civilised”, a riotous rock song that opens up the stage to the audience. It’s less a man preaching than a gathering of friends listening to someone voice what we’ve all be thinking. A rebellious, motivated shout to remember how we felt at seventeen, a refusal to lie down and take simply what we’re given. The guitar riff will be stuck in your head, and, as all the best opening songs do, The Civilised immediately makes you know the band, what they’re about and hits you with foot tapping, hip-shaking and head nodding.
O’Hare follows this up with thirty, which while I might not be able to empathise with, I can understand the point. Growing up doesn’t have to mean getting dull, and I’m sure that the crowd can get on board with that. It’s a remarkably age-varied gathering tonight, and this adds strength to The Trestle’s argument. Next up is Ghosts of Redundancy, a sentiment that, once again is felt in Liverpool’s Zanzibar. O’Hare’s ability to write lyrics that hit home, speak the truth and that yet are coupled with music that refuses to allow room for self-pity are a startlingly accurate metaphor for Scousers themselves.
Hard Faced Town, the title track of their recent EP, again pairs lyrics that resonate with honesty and a Beatles-esque pop musical accompaniment to make a surprisingly mellow sound. The lyrics “Why does it always come down to those with and without?” strikes a particularly notable chord, particularly as it follows a song about redundancy, but again refuses to sink into self pity.
The gig is wrapped up with “Drink of Water”, a personal possible favourite. The venue falls quiet as “I want…” echoes around the room, going on to list O’Hare’s desires, yet somehow speaking to everyone in the room, asking, what is it that we want. The band are unfailingly good, taking the crowd’s collective mood up and down seemingly at their whim, allowing for no respite and betraying strains of old (read: good) Oasis, Lemonheads, Springsteen and, correct me if I’m wrong, Suede.
This is the modern antidote to mediocrity. To make an audience feel as though merely nodding your head is not enough movement, to make them laugh and cry along with the lyrics and to let the crowd know that this is not just a song, it is an expression of opinion, is far too rare. I know of only a handful of contemporary acts that can make a roomful of people truly feel something; Frank Turner, Reuben, Scroobius Pip, Liam Frost and now, The Trestles. My one argument would be that if they want a hard-faced town, they should try Manchester.
The final act that I saw was so bad that to name and shame them seems cruel. They were called Man Get Out. Basically, they were a rubbish stereotype of an 80’s synth band. They were handsome, well dressed and young with decent equipment, so I don’t know why they weren’t making something worth listening to, but there you are. My friend enjoyed them, however, so I suppose if you like both HIM and Erasure, they could be good.
In summary, one-third of the night that I experienced was great, making those, I suppose, not bad odds. The Trestles: awesome, Half Cut Harry was potentially good, and currently acceptable and Man Get Out needs to borrow my Bob Dylan vinyl.
ta my lovelies.