Cardiff's Barfly, 27th November 2007
Reviewed by Nadine Ballantyne
London, UK Alternative Rock outfit Zico Chain marks 2007's closing months with a string of Barfly club dates, a year which has witnessed the group's fledgling profile substantially increase. Plugging sophomore full length effort Libertad, American supergroup Velvet Revolver chose Zico Chain as support on five UK dates in June 2007. On the 8th of that very month, the collective opened the Main Stage at North West Leicestershire's Download Festival in Donington Park. A number of lesser profile dates also occurred, including a July / August UK headlining tour, supported by Flood of Red and Ghost of a Thousand. Recorded in Los Angeles with producer Joe Barresi (Bad Religion, Tool), debut album Food saw the light of day in October 2007. The album spawned several singles, most notably “Where Would You Rather Be?” which made BBC Radio One Rock Show's Record of the Week. Despite ample airplay via music channels combined with respectable major magazine coverage, nationally known UK acts can still find themselves largely resigned to the club circuit. A scarce number of diehard fanatics mingle outside the venue's entrance, launching a successful bid to gain initial entry. As far as Barfly concerts are generally concerned, most attend later in the evening with little care of whomever happens to occupy the supporting slots.
Gaining airplay from the likes of XFM and Kerrang! Radio, My Alamo garnered a slot on Birmingham's Soundstation Festival on May 28th 2006. The band later performed at Download Festival's Gibson / Myspace stage on June 10th 2006, notching up another appearance at the Tuborg Stage on June 9th 2007. County Kildare, Ireland's Oxegen festival also played host to My Alamo on two successive occasions, at the New Bands Stage on 9th July 2006 and on 7th July 2007 respectively. The Kerrang! Radio Breakthru tour came in March 2007, pairing them alongside Supersimpson and Mexicolas. Cut at Mighty Atom Studios in Swansea, Wales with producer Joe Gibb (who boasts credits with the likes of Funeral For A Friend, The Kinks, Catatonia and Jane's Addiction), the quartet's eponymous debut full length was released this month via Seventh Star. Inaugural single “1994” preceded, issued via CD and special limited edition 7" vinyl during October.
A quirky attitude defines My Alamo, whom pleasantly commence the evening's live entertainment. Audience communication is wisely employed, whilst lead vocalist and guitarist James Rigby learns faint traces of the Welsh language during the actual performance. Rigby queries as to whether audience members can speak words of Welsh, and so a few words are offered. All in all, it's likely a way to vaguely impress the neighbours in their local vicinity. The South Wales / Moseley, Birmingham assortment comfortably encompass both the night's indie assemblage and inaugural support, a seemingly customary fixture on such bills (or so it feels). Grunge elements figure, although the musical stylings predominantly exploit commercial Rock. While certain moments boast unique qualities, others fail to do so. Truthfully speaking, it's difficult to arrive at a decision. An approachable warmth surrounds their material, a potent emotion which besieges both the audience and the group. The music is easier to comprehend as an immediate consequence, swiftly accelerating the set's pace. This contradicts that wearied, fatigued mood which steadily onsets the bystander while viewing certain artists, artists whose concluding track never seems to transpire.
Cat the Dog
While both guitarist Daryl Pruess and bassist Dan Logan hail from Brighton, Cat the Dog's vocalist / guitarist Chris Mellian and drummer Andy Newton were originally expelled from separate schools in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Dillusioned with the music scene located in their local area, the pair left for England. Signed to Virgin Records, producer Jack Douglas (Cheap Trick, Aerosmith) has been pencilled in to handle the group's debut full length. Inaugural double A-side “I'm a Romantic” / “Devil in Me” was issued in late August 2007, whereas sophomore single “Gotta Leave” has been scheduled for a December release.
Aphex Twin's acclaimed Acid Techno composition and signature cut “Come to Daddy” loudly resonates from the amplifiers, somewhat bizarrely comprising Cat the Dog's introductory song. The track choice firmly suggests to the uninformed observer that Cat the Dog belongs to the Hardcore Electro genre, and don Enter Shikari-esque attire. Such an assumption couldn't deviate further from the actual truth, especially given the fact that the members resemble vexed characters which emanate from the 1977 hit musical film Grease. Mt. Juliet, Tennesee's Kings of Leon surfaces as an overt influence, and Cat the Dog possibly aims to tread in their very footsteps. The conspicuous absence of a Hardcore act actually robs the night of extra life and vigour, which is a great shame. Cat the Dog's modest catalogue of tracks boasts some splendid tunes, all adeptly complimented by Mellian's general demeanour. Adopting an irritable, beleaguered manner of address, they feign little care. Forfeiting their instruments, Cat the Dog casually exit the stage. This summarises their set overall, and forms an accurate description; the group performs, and leaves.
It's highly like that nine in every ten individuals who purchased tickets to attend tonight's concert eagerly anticipate one act, that act being London headliners Zico Chain. Delirious fanatics faithfully lend verbal aid, although the figures are much more minimal than otherwise expected. In spite of their fledgling profile, Zico Chain kindly greet their admirers and courteously acknowledge all, without adopting an arrogant swagger. Each selected track bears the hallmarks of a hit single; Rock, Punk and Alternative ingredients unite together, wielding heavy bass riffs and rhythm which inspire spontaneous mid air jumping. Minute after minute earmark themselves as joyous fun, and the audience recites the lyrics to each and every track. Zico Chain likely understand their popularity is rapidly accelerating within the music industry, and that the group's fortunes can quickly soar in light of inaugural full length Food's October 2007 release. Lifted from April 2006 EP The Zico Chain, older number “The Lonely Ones” earns a riotous audience response. When critiquing tonight's performance, only positive aspects can be noted. Following a thrilling concert, Zico Chain amiably make light conversation with fans. The next time they schedule a gig at your local area, pay them a visit and obtain a vivid glimpse as to the reasons behind such commotion.