Ralph's sent his intrepid reporter Malcolm Parry out into the wilds - yes Bathgate no less - to bring you a live review of The Bedroom Hour, and this time he's come back with a corker. The night was originally advertised as three bands, unfortunately the opening act from Fife - Calm As The Colour had to cancel, but never mind they still had Somerset's indie rockers The Darlingtons there to warm them up. Enter Malcolm stage left...
The Darlingtons take to the stage and casting an eye over their dress and stance the crowd are thinking their going to witness a static 'we're too cool for school' indie by numbers... but as we should all know don’t judge! Straight into crashing guitar indie rock with the opener and debut single 'Bats' - all members start throwing themselves around the stage like they're being given short sharp electric shocks, definitely electrifying to watch I can tell you.
They sound at times like early Editors and funnily they remind me of the first time I saw said band before they made it big, I was equally impressed with them as well. Lead man Kiran 'Kiwi' to his friends, reminded me of a young Rick Witter. He doesn't have a lot of banter but oozes coolness, has a catchy voice and tunes. On the third track 'Don’t Give', I can hear The National's influence shining through (they tell me later how they’ve been listening to the band's album's on tour) and also undertones of a band called Longview from Manchester (file under 'emotive indie rock').
We move through their energetic set which is surrounded by a wall of sound. During one of their songs the lead guitarist leaves the stage to have a full on wig out on the dance floor while playing a solo...Rock n Roll!!! Last song 'Sirens' is a more punk tinged epic which builds to a reverb shower of sound, leaving this audience well and truly warmed up - and slightly deaf!
I get a quick chat with the lads who tell me they have a few festivals lined up in Haworth, Mosborough and The Tramlines - all in Yorkshire so a busy summer ahead for them. They will be recording an EP and a live EP which will hopefully be coming out in August (live) and October for the studio effort (3 tracks).
Having recently gained a love for The Bedroom Hour's debut EP 'Themes' after having reviewd it, I must admit I was very pleased to be seeing the lads live. Especially since we all share a love for classic stadium bands, one in particular being early Simple Minds. The band all take their positions on the stage to an intro tape of the classic Celtic stars instrumental 'Theme For Great Cities' - except for lead man Stu Drummond? I’m excited now! The band ease into their E.P's opening tune 'Shadow Boxer', a post punk sounding guitar chimes out and Stu takes his place centre stage.
Leaning slowly into the mic like a young Bono, he's confident, vocals tight, faultless and visually not unlike Elbow's Guy Garvey, joining the league of the working class gentlemen.
'Tyrannosaur ' with it's frantic Joy Division keys intro lead guitarist Rob Payne breaks it down into a U2's Edge riff. Lead man Drummond singing with huge passion, pounding on his chest like a gorilla protecting his patch. 'No Key' with it's big 'Coldplay' keys and drumming - vocally reminds me of a Soft Cell tune, very arena pop and very 80's (not a bad thing at all).
Another tune 'Sapphires' with it's haunting heartfelt sound is preceded by Stu saying “Thanks for having us in gods country” - a cover version of the U2 album track wouldn't have gone out of place in this set of tight, polished wide-screen guitar pop.'Slow Motion Cinema' follows, prior to the gig I got an exclusive from the lead man telling me his mother passed away after an illness last year and he wrote it for her. Hearing it live and seeing the feelings flooding through makes the song ever more poignant and emotional.
'X Marks The Spot' definitely hit's the spot live with it's Simple Minds-esque intro and catchy uplifting chorus. If bands still released singles, this would surely be a top 40 hit. At one point Drummond perches on the edge of the drum kit and I was hoping he would jump up and let loose a Jim Kerr trademark kick but no, not even a wave (one for Minds fans).
Next up 'Heart Will Haunt' - a track which wasn't on the E.P in it's entirety, though Rob tells me a sample was used at the beginning of 'Shadow Boxer'. At this point it sounds like the volume has been turned up a notch on the vocals and I feel the passion reverberating through me.
Last track 'Nocturnal' reminds me of Siouxsie And The Banshees with it's alternative 80's sound. An all round great gig and really thoroughly enjoyed. The only complaint was the venue was too small to carry their huge sound and I can only hope they make it to move up to bigger venues that ca command and carry their epic tunes - with influences like Elbow, Coldplay, U2 and Simple Minds how could they not.
Afterwards I get an interview with the lads.
Malc : What's your names and where do you come from?
The Bedroom Hour: Stu Drummond from West London, Mark Dudley from west London , Rob Payne from Uxbridge in Middlesex.
Malc: Theme tunes? Favourite theme tune: Minder or Only fools and horses?
The Bedroom Hour: A unanimous vote for Minder. They tell me while they made the video for X marks the spot they came across a montage from Minder, Stu jokes they might use the theme as a walk on music
Malc: Seriously, Themes for title of E.P?
Rob: I'm a massive Simple Minds fan, and obviously their track 'Themes from great cities' took it from that .If we released an album on vinyl we would like one side Morning ( more chilled ) and Night ( more upbeat ).
Malc: Stu, do you write the lyrics or is it more a group effort?
Stu: I write the lyrics and all the guys add their parts, but I believe the lyrics are no more important than the music.
Malc: So as a band if you could have written: U2- The Joshua Tree or Coldplay's -Rush of blood to your head what one?
Rob: Joshua Tree Stu: I don't know, both have great songs on them. Lewis ( drummer ) who joins us “I wasn't around for The Joshua Tree “
Me: Favourite Simple Minds track between Belfast Child and I travel?
Rob: I travel - definitely
Me: First ever Arena gig experience?
Rob: Oasis ( be here now tour ) Earls court.
Stu: Don't know, but best gig; Prodigy ( Brixton academy )
Mark : I've seen Kings of Leon at Wembley Arena.
Malc: If you got invited to play any festival in the world?
Rob and Mark: 'Cochella '
Stu: T in the park with having Scottish Family.
Malc: Over 5000 followers on twitter?
Rob: It's because of following the wrong people. But we would rather have 800-1000 real fans.
Malc: Plans for the summer?
Mark: We don't have huge plans but getting offers as we go along. Playing Mosborough on the same bill as Paul Heaton.
Malc: Is the E.P selling well?
Mark: We'll find out soon how well it's sold on itunes and we've sold a lot at gig's.
Malc: When will the album be ready?
Rob/Stu : Hopefully September/October get a double A out with Sapphires : Depending on our work ethic. Hopefully March/April 2014 for the album.
Well I really enjoyed the gig and interview, what a nice bunch of down to earth, head on their shoulders guys they were. Lots of fun for a