Live Review: This Feeling Alive
By Ethan Davies
This Feeling is a promotions company for new and upcoming bands, and have recently signed a deal with Radio X to boost the audience for their featured acts.
They also have a ringing endorsement from none other than Noel Gallagher, who says “what This Feeling is doing at the moment is vital”. That’s a pretty big deal for a small act tour, as is the £12 admission. I went down to Club Academy to see if the acts This Feeling had chosen were really worth the admission.
First up was BlackWaters, whose previous tour has taken them to Truck Festival and Kendal Calling — the Guildford four-piece certainly have a lot of momentum in their favour, and it shows. What begins as an alcohol-laden punk set soon grows into an exuberant, energetic, and frenetic experience. T-shirts are removed, drinks fly about, and the sweat drips off Max Tanner’s nose.
This is very reminiscent of an early LIFE performance, meaning BlackWaters made a lasting impression in my mind. If they continue performing like this and having singles produced by the likes of Carl Barat (as was So Far Out), then they’ll easily be making the jump from Club Academy to larger venues.
Our next act was Doncaster’s Bang Bang Romeo. Their lead singer, Anastasia Walker, is a powerful front woman. Her vocals boom through the mic whilst goading the audience into making the most of their presence, gathering the core audience around her and building tension to their final song.
As a set, Bang Bang Romeo is pretty likeable. However, Walker’s voice is soulful, and with reverb offers something different than a normal soul act — she also has a punk on-stage persona, which would be fine, if it wasn’t for the musical style of Bang Bang Romeo. It doesn’t quite fit into either category, with parts being dark and brooding and others being upbeat. I’m a big fan of genre-hoppers, but this time it just seems confused. The reverb vocals really suit Walker, as does her onstage persona. Unfortunately, it seems the music doesn’t quite fit.
Our headline act is The Shimmer Band. First impressions count. My first, and lasting, impression are that the band are wearing different versions of the same Liam Gallagher hairstyle. Lead singer Tom Newman comes in a cagoule, hood up, and wearing sunglasses that I last saw in the “D’you know what I mean?” video.
Their set is explosive, and it’s certainly wrong to say the Bristol band lack talent. However, it seems that not only are they wearing four versions of the same haircut but also that they’ve written four versions of the same song. It’s forgivable for a band just starting out, and The Shimmer Band certainly have a place in music – but some fresh ideas are needed to take them up a level.
This Feeling Alive have managed to find some genuine talent then — all the artists performed admirably and most punters went home happy. I do feel though that for a venue of that size, £12 per ticket is simply too pricey.
It shows; at best, Club Academy was two-thirds full. If This Feeling wants to really support new acts, then they’ll need to lower the admission prices to give more fans a chance to see what they’ve unearthed.