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Friday, 6 April 2012

Live & Dangerous: Charlie Simpson, The Martin Harley Band, Union Sound Set

Charlie Simpson, The Martin Harley Band, Union Sound Set (Solus, Cardiff)

Opening act I can't remember but he was shit so moving on:

Union Sound Set

Formed by Simpson's eldest brother Ed. Union Sound Set are a band that are equal parts Arcade Fire, Radiohead and Band Of Horses, they play atmospheric post-rock rich in melody and progression. For a band that consists of guitars, drums, bass, keys and even a cello they are very streamlined in their sound. This is stirring uplifting music that has many links to Fightstar because of Ed's uncanny vocal resemblance to his brother Charlie (who came on as a guest for one track to a rapturous applause). Union Sound Set are a thinking band that play with the utmost professionalism, they are musically gifted and also great song writers the only shame is that I hadn't heard of them until now. 8/10

The Martin Harley Band

Again another band I had yet to hear despite them being from Cardiff. They are trio that play variations of blues and folk. However the band straddles genres and introduces instruments that you wouldn't associate with these genres. Martin himself handles vocals and mainly acoustic guitar, however his prowess with a lap-slide guitar is daunting especially when playing set closer Voodoo Chile (Slight Return) the other musicians are not to be ignored either with bassist Jay Carter holding everything together which means that drummer Pete Swaton can let it all hang loose on his cocktail drum kit as well as playing a mean Balalaika. Their unique and not-quite-placeable sound is truly a highlight and their stage presence for a trio is excellent (despite spending most of the gig sitting down) Great band that need to be seen. 9/10

Charlie Simpson

The co-frontman of Fightstar and former member of pop-Muppets Busted, Charlie Simpson is a musical chameleon that has proved all his doubters wrong. He has yet again changed his spots and become an acoustic troubadour on his first solo album Young Pilgrim. Opening with the upbeat Parachutes Simpson receives a fantastic welcome from the very busy Solus. the crowd itself is made up of scene kids, teenage girls, indie kids, hipsters, Fightstar fans and probably even some Busted fans (although they wouldn't reveal themselves). Simpson is backed by great band and was in clear voice all night. He played the majority of his solo album with   Down, Down, Down, The Farmer & His Gun and the cathartic Riverbanks all being favourites. Simpson easily won over the crowd and by the end he had left them wanting more. Also as a passing comment the sound was good and the crowd were on fire (albeit with more shrill screaming than I'm used to at gigs). Great night from a man who is a good entertainer and also a fantastic songwriter. 9/10

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