On Tuesday 14th June, the University of Surrey student’s union witnessed an event like no other. A far cry from the usual uber-produced, auto-tuned sugary pop hits that reverberate around the union’s walls, Say Something Live is a music night designed to delight the alternative taste buds.
The bill featured four bands; Surrey University based soft rock trio Sleeping Robots, rock/electronica group Kid Adrift, the lofty and heavily moustached gentleman rhymer Mr B, and Subsource, with their heavy rock meets grinding dub-step to headline.
The gig began promisingly, with a mild to fairly generous turn out. This may of course have been a consequence of Sleeping Robots being Surrey University students themselves, baby faced and brimming with raw talent, however their presence on stage was highly professional. Their tracks were easily listenable and bop-along-able, if not slightly tame in comparison to the following act in the line-up.
Kid Adrift were next up, complete with a shabbily dressed Iain Campbell on vocals and guitar, and the outstanding voice of Rebecca Woolls, looking slightly like a wavy-haired festival-child. In direct contrast with Sleeping Robots, Kid Adrift seemed all too used to the gigging experience. Campbell skulked around the stage looking true rock star, whilst a few audience members warily eyed the keyboardist in fear that he may knock himself out on his own instrument through violent head banging. Although the tracks they played were good; in an I’m-nodding-along-feeling-kind-of-alternative-and-cool sort of way, one couldn’t help but notice a few slips in tuning/timing, hinting that these musicians were out of practice. Also adding fuel to the fire were the band’s claims that this may be their only show in quite a long time. That aside, they still got the crowd roaring and jumping, frenzied by the few students that they invited on stage to smash up a rather expensive looking keyboard (possibly one reason for them not being able to play for a while!).
After a mass evacuation by what felt like the entire audience to the single union bar, Mr. B graced the stage. Dressed in a smart suit and holding a banjo, this self confessed champion of ‘chap-hop’ began rapping to the audience in the Queen’s English. This man couldn’t be further away from Eminem if he tried. As Mr. B engaged in some sort of knee bend routine, akin to a parodied police officer out of the 1950s, his rapping in RP left the audience strangely captivated. They erupted in cheers after each highly amusing if not slightly samey track, injecting life-affirming humour amongst an otherwise deadly serious line-up.
Lastly, but by no means least, were Subsource, the headliners for the evening. After a last-minute drop out by previous top of the bill band Coda, Subsource valiantly picked up the gauntlet to subsequently ‘smash it’. Their music manages to blend all the best bits of rock, ska and dub-step, into a unique sound that seemed to vibrate out from the stage into waves of crazy dancing and intermittent mosh pits. Racing dub-step beats were layered over electronic scribblings, sections of melody were cut up and fed to the audience like sweets. Heavy guitar riffs were moulded around heart-stopping bass drops. Subsource make it almost impossible not to dance... and where else would you encounter a Mohican headed raspy rock singer belting out catchy lyrics whilst playing an electric double bass??!
Numbers seemed to dwindle after Mr. B, probably due to the last minute addition of the headline act. However for those who did stick around, Subsource topped off the evening in excellent style (and sweat). Adrenaline fuelled punters left the union on music high, making a nice change from frequent tear-drenched drunken lows of the normal union nights. Say Something Live nights have been an excellent addition to the University’s events calendar, bringing high quality, cheap live music to the student’s doorstep.