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After a long day's hard graft driving buses, I wasn't too sure if I'd go to this gig or not. Paul Finan from MORE TINY GIANTS had sent out a general e-mail to ask all supporters of the band if they'd go and vote for them and help them secure a chance to play at Oxygen. Apparently this is the prize if you win.

Not being too familiar with these contests, I stood with a grumbling bunch of punters outside 'The Academy' until nearly ten (the gig was advertised for MUCH earlier). Something made me stay however, probably my newfound fascination with the crazy music scene around the city right now. Also there was a nice atmosphere building up among the punters as the organizers begun to show signs of getting the doors open and letting us in to fill our appetites for music, good company and that certain something you get hearing brand new sounds, from brand new bands.

Never having been inside this venue apart from the time I last attended it as a CINEMA; I took in my surroundings, spotting a nice table, with a good view of the stage, not too near the speakers. I sat down, drink in hand and hoped I wouldn't be waiting around too long before the fun started. Two young men from a band which were hoping to compete in a future heat of the competition asked if they could join me at my table. I was glad of the company and soon the gig started.

As I said, I'm new to this scene and listened carefully to how the voting is done. I also derived that a wild-card system was in place whereby certain bands whose names are submitted into a pool of sorts, can get drawn to take part in the competition at a later date. My friends who had joined my table were members of one of these bands. They were the first band out of the hat! I must have been their lucky mascot!

The MC introduced the bands to compete on this occasion, which were as follows: EUKENA, BEAUSERAT, SOUND OF SOUL, MORE TINY GIANTS, GOOD NEWS, and THE RISING.

EUKENA I hope I've spelled it correctly. The lead guitarist was the star in this act for me. I couldn't take my eyes of him he was so good. Backing vocals were sung by two pretty girls. This seems to have become a kind of fashion and I must say, if nothing else it adds a touch of glamour. The singer had a raspy, rock voice but I personally wasn't impressed with their melody-lines. They were just a little bit bland!

The bass player showed some talent in that he got a few solos and made good use of them. Gradually, the songs begun to grow on me and the 4th number, which I don't know the name of, had fire and excellent harmony and restored my faith in them. They finished with a real Rhythm and Blues style number with very 'Quo' riffs and lots of gutsy bass with choppy drums. It got a marvellous response from the crowd. All in all they did well, considering they were starting off the night.

BEAUSERAT –This band consisting of only two guys had a very distinctive Rock/Indie sound. The singer had a brilliant voice and played guitar too. The second guy played very intense riffs. They performed one very romantic slow song which I loved but as in most cases didn't get the name of with the noise. I noticed a lot of chatter drowning them out, which annoyed me. Obviously the sweet melody and gorgeous lead solos were lost on the audience.
Their 3rd song was very upbeat with a Rock/jazz feel to it. It had an amazing lead solo, catchy chorus and was sung with such emotion, that the buzz in the audience died down and people started to listen.

SOUND OF SOUL –This band was a heavy rock style which injected a bit of adrenaline into the place.
With lots of crunchy, ballsy rock chords being played using distortion, plenty of 'kick ass' bass riffs and a very appealing sound all told, this lot were definitely the best so far.
The lead guitarist performed plenty of strong IN YOUR FACE riffs and a big bashing finish to the first number won them respect.

The drummer used lots of unexpected changes of tempo and confident thumping beats to draw your attention. He was so unignorable throughout the set and in some ways the star of the show. Their third song had an anthemic style with big resounding chords and a thumping beat. The chorus was extremely sweet. But as in all cases they saved their best till last. With a tuneful melody, a dramatic build up to each chorus and plenty of distortion used for lead guitar, it had everything!
The singer has a very deep voice, yet seems to be capable of hitting falsetto at will. Pretty unusual and very impressive!

MORE TINY GIANTS- This band of course was the reason for my being at this gig, so I am a little biased. They started of with their new song. It consisted of a very MTG style beat, a beautiful lead solo was played and with confident bass, the unmistakeable voice of Paul Finan and all that makes them stand out from the rest for me, they got into their set.
This band is familiar to me since I only reviewed a gig in Whelan's in January and have been playing the 'Wolves at the Door' c.d. in my car ever since.
They did ' I don't like formulas', with an amazing thumping beat, sweet lead solo and an ability to command the attention of an otherwise noisy and 'well lubricated' audience.
'Tom Barry and Mary' another of the songs from my c.d. was a great choice since it got the crowd involved for the chorus of 'you hoo! I'm going by you hoo!'

'Heroes and Buildings', a powerful number with a rhapsody style, cool lead riffs and unique but lovely melody, builds up and slows down in all the right places They finished however, with my favourite song and definititely got everyone in a party mood with 'Wolves at the door'. They were magic and deserved the great response they got!

GOOD NEWS – A tuneful, cheerful set was performed by this band with lively rhythm. They had very BEATLE/KINKS-style with wonderful harmony and a lead singer with a crisp, clear voice. I really liked them! I remember the song that I liked best, 'It's only darkness'! They did one song with a very fast galloping beat and a delicious melody along with close, precise harmony.
They finished with a song called 'What's me, what's you' which has sweet key changes and sounded very like a 'Monkeys' number with a real early 70's feel to it.

THE RISING – Being a fan of a good mixture of different genres, I adore a really good heavy rock band. Fresh from a 'Jaded Sun' gig only days before this event, I was pleasantly surprised, to discover this other classic sounding but very bewitching band, with that same special talent for making you glad to be alive! They had a fun element that really got the crowd going and really had the edge! Included in their set were lots of distortion-packed lead solos, crunchy chords and would definitely have gotten my second vote had I been allowed one!

I couldn't believe my eyes when I looked at my watch to discover it was two thirty as THE RISING sang their last song. I handed in my vote and just like Cinderella had to do a mad dash. For fear of my car being clamped I left, but hope to get back to find out how things are progressing in the bid of all equally amazing acts, for a chance to play at the very prestigious OXYGEN concert. Good luck to all participating!

Angela –Macari- O'Looney

Review written by: Angela –Macari- O’Looney --

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