On a normal day the line up for this band is: Steph Whitehead (Vocals), Gareth Haskins (Guitar/Vocals), Oscar Rees (Guitar), Josh Lock (Drums), Craig Lillywhite (Bass). I say normal, because Craig was unavailable for the performance, so they became more of an acoustic setup, with Josh arming himself with a conga - very cool!
'The Cage' was the first song they played. It had a good solid beat, which was as much the work of Oscar and Gareth as it was Josh's. The guitar playing was strong, all I might suggest is a use of different inversions to cover more ranges of the fret board. Steph's voice carried strong over the music, clear and true and the harmonies were good. Oscar added a nice set of octave fills. This song was a good one to kick off with, showing both confidence and experience.
As their set matured the guitarists really got into it, as did the conga man, Josh. There was a good play between the lyricists and there was a cheeky underplayed ending between Josh and Oscar, which added a nice and humorous touch.
Their rendition of 'Rolling in the Deep' by Adele, which is a personal favourite of mine, was very similar in terms of structure and dynamic. However, it was slightly slower, which I wasn't so keen on to begin with, but their confidence during the performance allowed me to buy into it and, I have to say, I actually quite liked it. Oscar performed a cracking solo, Stevie Ray Vaughan style picking, double notes, very rhythmic, very tasty!
The finished with an original called 'Rotting Away', sung mainly by Gareth. It had an interesting and uncommon melody, which started as a riff and built into a chordal version. The chorus had a slightly more common chord progression, and the little conga fills during the bridge, were good fun to watch, especially with the rapport between Oscar and Josh. The verse was softer and both singers hit the high pitches well. The solo was really bluesy with the use the ever-wonderful flat 5th.
All in all, a great performance, and it has really wetted my appetite for the full five-piece line up!