A spot of Girl Rock was on the agenda last night.
First up were a young band from Banbury called EVAROSE. These four young ladies have their musical feet firmly in the emo-metal field, in particular bands such as Flyleaf and Paramore (with vocalist Dannika sounding and singing very much in the style of Hayley Williams). They are certainly not lacking in energy of musicianship and singer Dannika knows how to own a stage – and I loved the harmony vocals/vocals provided by guitarist Imogen , but song-wise they are still not quite there yet (for me). Which is not to say they don't have some good tunes. Cough it Up and Best Left Alone are fine examples of their ability to write catchy songs in the genre. I'm just hoping that the next 18 months – 3 years will see the band find a bit more of their own identity (so that people's first thought in hearing them is no longer Paramore for example). On the evidence of last night they certainly have the potential to be a force to be reckoned with. I bought an EP to show my support anyway, and would certainly consider checking them out live again.
Next up were a band from Ireland called KATE'S PARTY. Lead by Sarah Corcoran, things got off to a problematic start when a broken string on song one, causing guitarist Niamh Hanley to have to fill in best she could – including a few wonderfully corny jokes - whilst Corcoran disappeared off stage to restring. Once back on stage the band launched into a set that was packed full of bright catchy indie pop, that immediately won me over to the cause. Here are a band that could go big places and do so soon with the right 'break'. I was particularly taken by Niamh on lead guitar who employed the best use of Eddie Van Halen-style tapping I've seen in many a year to provide inventive rhythm guitar textures to a number of the songs. Add to this a solid bass of the combined talents of Bassist Stephen Lyons and drummer Fiach O Briain and I'd found a band I would happily pay money to see play again.
And so to my main reason for being at the gig – SICK OF SARAH. Hailing from Minneapolis this all girl five piece first came across my radar about 18 months ago when I caught the song Bittersweet online. This lead to a purchase of their solid debut album, and had the band marked down as one I was interested to catch live. This gig was in support of their second album 2205. Less loud and slightly more nuanced than either Evarose or Katy's Party, SoS are everything you'd want from a good pop-rock band. Plenty of catchy tunes, a lead singer - Abisha Url – who can walk the walk. She knows how to command attention, and had small number of dedicated fans near the stage eating out of her hands [some of us slightly older members of the audience were not oblivious to her stage chops either]
Slick sounding with a small audience of fans who loved every opportunity given to sing along with songs from the first album and the latest record, it was a performance which showed just why they were the headline act, and why they deserve, in my mind, a wider audience, both live and on record. However, neither Evarose or Kate's Party were embarrassed in the company and both should soon find themselves in headline positions at this venue.