Last Saturday, 9th June – Saw Ireland’s FIGHTING WITH WIRE swing through Swindon on their national UK tour. I haven’t seen Cahir, their guitarist and lead vocalist since his “other” band Jetplane Landing played their penultimate gig in Devizes before going on hiatus nearly 5 years ago!
Their sound engineer and tour manager Conor was an absolute gent too to work with – despite problematic sound and PA issues, he never once got frustrated. Believe it or not, this was actually my first time seeing the band – I’m preety sure I hadn’t seen them before… Possibly at one of the STA all dayers – but if so, I’m struggling to remember! (I might have been under the influence at the time mind…)
It was great to catch up with the band, they are real, genuine music people – each have stories and experiences of venues, other bands, promoters and what not on the national scene to talk about, and it’s always good for a gossip! I now know which bands to check out, and which to avoid 😉
I also managed to figure out I’ve seen Cahir now play either guitar or bass in 4 bands in total, Jetplane Landing, Lafaro, Seafood and FWW…
Anyway, log story short – the Swindon show was amazing, despite it’s PA problem, which was tracked back to an insert cable… Opener Oxygen Thief, who is opening for Frank Turner in Frome in August and played the Lamb month before last, was on top form as ever – A LOT of bands could take cues from this guy about being able to speak to a crowd, and confidently open an event. Again, class act – professional and a gentleman.
The Starkers, a new jangly indie band from Swindon were also superb. They grunged their set up to be in keeping with the event, but it did nothing to take away from their totally-different-to-every-other-indie-band-in-Swindon sound. more 80’s jangle than Libertine-isms. Promising stuff.
Mr Hello & His Honesty Club were just outstanding. I think most of the audience didn’t get it. If you like walls of noise, happen to own a Part Chimp CD and love a tongue in cheeck exercise through really pretentious territory, then you will not go far wrong with Mr Hello. I’d expand more, but you really need to go see them – they’re playing for Greenman Music and Swindon Shuffle in the coming months, so you have plenty of chance.
Fighting With Wire pulled a decent crowd – a bunch there to see Cahir to a certain extent – and they didn’t disappoint. Ruddy tight, accurate and powerful – their set impressed everyone, even the newbies that were dragged down from the Vic and paid the £7 entry were impressed. They’re really isn’t a band in the UK under 40 right now doing this late 80’s / 90’s Grunge. The fact that the biggest name in that genre, Nick Raskulinecz, produced their album is testament to their quality – when their album drops it could be a game changer for the band, and I really hope it is!
Wednesday 13th June – Furnace Mountain / Devizes Festival
Devizes festival kicked off with American, Appalachian folk band, Furnace Mountain last night, to spectacular effect – their acoustic brand of Americana was just spell binding – the duel female vocals were gorgeous, the mandolin and fiddle a sight to behold.
And the sound? The sound was song thing else – I don’t think I’ve managed to make that room as clear as that in the past 6 or 7 years I’ve been using it. The ground hum was still there, but it wasn’t prominent – but the band sounded amazing.
A technique I learnt at the 12 Bar in Swindon by Newton Faulkner was to have the volume down low – forcing the audience to be polite and take notice paid off.
With their acoustic nature too much pushing of the volume would of ruined the subtle nature of their sound – and it was with this in mind, and the advice and request of the band themselves and their tour manager to get the balance just right – it really was an aural delight, with every aspect of the band really clear and even.
I thoroughly enjoyed them, enjoyed engineering them, but was left gutted when my Blackberry decided not to save the video I took to share with you all, ah well… you win some…