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MAINLINE FUSEBOX Battle of the Bands Final, The Axis Centre, Ballymun. 04/05/2002

A professional sounding and presented set was given by Mainline at the Fusebox, which was possibly the main contributing factor to their being named as winners of the Fusebox battle of the bands contest. The most memorable song was By the window, the ending of which was the highlight of the whole show for me, with a Beachboy type vocal harmony accompanied only initially by the drums. There is definitely single material in that song, with a nice and easy chorus.

They followed this with a much more musically expressive sound than had been present in the opener, with the guitar played in a similar style to that which The Edge of U2 became famous for, with the drums enlivening the chorus. The singer however was struggling to make his mark. As in the opener (bar the harmony), his voice sounded bland and even monotonous. Helped at times by backing vocals from the drummer his sound improved but left me feeling that he needs to either raise and roughen his voice or tone down his own guitar playing to allow his singing to reach us. I have heard their demo since, and in a studio format his voice works perfectly, but changes I fear have to be made for their live performance. Even if it is simply a matter of interacting with the crowd a bit more (or even a bit!). After all, people want to see something live that they can't get on a CD. It has to be said, though, that ?Mainline? definitely have something about them. I assume the singer was a bit nervous because it was, after all, a Battle Of The Bands Final. I have since heard that they put on a great show at a National College Of Ireland Rag Week event in March of this year, so I hope their next performances are in less nerve-wracking situations. Good luck to them.

Review written by: Ron Healy and Deirdre Murphy --

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