Mr Kyps, Poole

Walk The Night

First impressions. Often very vital, sometimes easily dismissed without a second thought- Let me explain.

For instance, people in general. Meeting someone and basing your opinion of them off of a first impression (especially a bad one) can be disastrous, and it means you miss out on what said person would have to offer. However, with something such as a Hugh Grant film, if your first impression of one is such that you don’t like what you see, then it’s safe to say you can comfortably assume the same for the rest of such related works. With bands, it’s hard to say; there are a whole number of variables- said band could be trying out a new song, or having a bad gig, basing a band off of a first impression is pretty counter-productive. However, there is a case where basing everything off of a first impression is very, very worthwhile, and this is the story of it…

So, to Mr Kyps on the 17th of August, people flocked to the venue awaiting the arrival of a three pronged attack featuring Si Genaro, Black Water County and Walk The Night, with a great amount of hype generated around the event; promotional posters, promised EP releases and even collaborative efforts expected! When I arrived, there were a few new faces flocking about, admiring the stage, dominated by green lights and many an instrument. First up on the bill was Si Genaro, adorned with an acoustic guitar and flared jeans. Bringing his own brand of charming one man acoustic music to the table, the first song, entitled “Love Goes To Ground” was a powerful, gritty piece that featured some incredible soaring falsetto and a very charming vocal style on behalf of Si, definitely a strong first impression, one which would actually be good to base his entire performance on. Using (surprisingly good!) beatboxing to set a jovial mood to his set, Genaro belted through his own originals, such as “Firefly” and “If You Go”, whilst also delivering a very competent cover of “I Need A Dollar”, which went down like warm Ribena on a sore throat.

Si Genaro

That’s well, very well.

The highlights for me were two songs, closer to the end of the eight song set. The first of which being the “Mitt Romney Song”, a hilarious, fast paced political anthem that prompted a few smiles from the slowly growing audience, and his final song “Touch of You”, with Walk The Night’s frontman/guitarist Chris Payn coming up and making a guest appearance. The combination of the two was actually very pleasant to hear, with Chris complementing Si’s song with some soft bluesy soloing and warm backing vocals. In summary? A very good warmup act, Si Genaro is a good performer to see, very confident and charismatic on stage, with some decent songs to back up the on stage banter with!

Round Two, and I don’t think Kyps was quite ready for this.

Black Water County, a combination of Irish punk and folk rock, very reminiscent of bands such as Dropkick Murphys and Flogging Molly, blasted onto the stage at Kyps, bearing matching waistcoats and impressive facial hair (excluding vocalist Shan Byrom, of course). The night was also the band’s first EP release, featuring a majority of their own songs, and a few additional covers, and they put on a blinder of a performance.

Black Water County

The only real way I can describe the genre of BWC is “pub-core”. This is music to dance to, stamp the floor to, and most importantly, get another round in with all of your mates whilst these feel good shanties are pounded out. Frontman Tim has an incredible amount of power in his voice, and is well suited to the shouty gang vocal style that BWC employs so well, whilst still able to hold melody in an impressive manner.

Now, spoiler alert, I adored Black Water County. They’ve got a real, if slightly round edged, charm to their music, whether it’s a cover such as their version of “The Times They Are A Changin” or one of their storming originals like the fast paced “Wowowo Song”, BWC have a brilliant knack for putting a smile on the faces of the audience. A real plus point is the stage presence and confidence of the band as a unit, even for such a recently formed band, they’re comfortable and tight in their playing style, a definite skill point at the pace these guys play, and the confidence even extends to the interaction with the audience, at no point did the onstage banter seem awkward or forced, and there was even a point where members were joining the crowd, jumping around and having a laugh. Another noteworthy feature is the use of less than traditional instruments, as Shan’s weapons of choice were a lovely tin whistle and a melodica (for those who don’t know, think a small keyboard crossed with a recorder), whilst Gavin Coles wielded an assortment of a self modified electric banjo, a mandolin and an electric guitar, which really filled out the sound of the set.

The final highlight of Black Water County’s set was their own original; “The Pirate Song”. By far the strongest song of the set, this was an angry Celtic thrash punk (is that a genre that exists? It is now.) number that has an insanely catchy chorus, some brilliant banjo lines by Gavin, and an especially fantastic middle section that is nothing but pounding instruments and a shout of “Y’ARRRRRR!” from every player with a microphone. All in all, amazing, if this is what this band comes up with in such a short space of time, then I’m looking forward to future endeavours. Well done Black Water County, have a Guinness on me.

Finally, Walk The Night took the stage. I’ve seen these guys from very close to their origins as Colt 45, their covers band, and now seeing them playing completely original songs is just fantastic. The crowd greeted them like an old friend as they started with their latest opening track, entitled ‘Get Away’, a real headbanger of a tune that is really notable for some great stop start syncopation between the guitars and drums. In typical zero-bullshit Walk The Night attitude, Get Away segued immediately into another recent track, entitled ‘Can’t Get Enough’, the intro of which is slightly reminiscent of Jet’s ‘Are You Gunna Be My Girl’. However, this comparison is immediately extinguished when the vocals come in, as it’s another fantastic shouty chorus with real power behind it. It’s a testament to these guys talent that they have slowly created their own unique sound among local bands (something that’s very difficult) with a good kind of ‘groove-rock’ (here I go making up genres again, but I don’t care, it fits.).

Walk The Night

A real example the talent of these guys is when you realise that drummer Andy L “Smooth” is also the drummer for the aformentioned Black Water County, and excels at both almost contrary styles of music, playing tight and not too overpowering, setting a good example for the kind of potential these lads have. They slammed through well known songs of theirs such as ‘Spent’ and played an old favourite of your truly with “Get Outta My Head”, prompting a lot of people to pump their fists and jump around to the ballsy shuffle beat riff, and that’s a good way to describe Walk The Night, ballsy. Even playing slower ballads, such as “Road Song”, the music feels full and big, which even in a four piece I’ve found hard to come by.

Eventually, the set drew to a close with heavy riff-oriented anthems such as the punkish “Loaded Gun” and the foot stomping “Trouble”, before they ended with the eclectic “No.1”. The final two aformentioned songs have really become favourites of this band, and you can tell by the mannerisms of all of them up on the stage, synchronised headbanging, smiles all around, real emotion comes from the Walk The Night lads when they perform, and that’s how a band should be.

Their final encore was a recently revived acoustic ballad entitled “Still The One”, and it was interesting to see the guys play in a semi-unplugged manner, in terms of how the song sounded, they pulled it off well, although I couldn’t help but wonder if it would have sounded better with the lead guitarist, Rus, playing the electric, and Chris on acoustic, but I digress, it was a pretty great way to end what was an awesome set, as usual for the foursome of Walk The Night.

All in all, the first impressions I got from all three of these bands did not let me down. A sterling tour-de-force of a line-up, and utterly, utterly enjoyable, throughout the entire night. Well done to all concerned, you’ve certainly got good things in store for yourselves if you keep this up!

Si Genaro
Love Goes To Ground
Have Fun Keep Time
If You Go
I need a Dollah (Cover)
Mitt Romney
Playstation Hero
Touch of You w/ Chris Payn

Black Water County
Streams Of Whiskey (Cover)
Irish Rover (Cover)
Times They Are A Changin’ (Cover)
What’s Left Of The Flag (Cover)
Drunken Lullabies (Cover)
Auld Triangle (Cover)
Dirty Glass (Cover)
Happy Drunk
Wowowo Song
Pirate Song
Dirty Old Town (Cover)
Loch Lomond (Cover)

Walk The Night
Get Away
Can’t get Enough
Get outta My Head
Road Song
Loaded Gun
The World Is Still Mine (First Live Performance)
No. 1
Still The One

Black Water County are…
Tim Harris (Lead vocals, Bass Guitar)
Gavin Coles (Mandolin, Banjo, Backing Vocals and Lead Guitar)
Bradley Hutchings-Clarke (Rhythm Guitar, Backing Vocals)
Shan Byrom (Tin Whistle, Melodica, Tambourine, Lead Vocals)
Andy L Smooth (Drums)

Walk The Night are…
Chris Payn (Rhythm Guitar, Lead Vocals)
Rus Scagell (Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals)
Scotty Farron (Bass Guitar, Backing Vocals)
Andy L Smooth (Drums, Backing Vocals)

Band Links

Review by Mike Masters.
…of Si Genaro by Chinners.
…of Walk the night by Marianne Harris
…of Black Water County is their own.

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to MySpace