Say Something, a live music night and inspirational brain child of GU2 radio has been ambling alongside Surrey’s sub-standard union events since December 2009, slowly collecting fresh-faced and eager music fans along the way like a slow-motion snowball, frosty and determined. And, a lot like a snowball, mildly unnoticed by the majority until it gets MASSIVE and then causes an avalanche. More on this shrouded metaphor later. This year it lay deep in the merciless pit of fresher’s season cheese – sorry – fun, and provided a glimmer of hope for those seeking more alternative forms of entertainment.
The evening of the 6th October was loudly shaken out of its Thursday night sleepyness by none other than Bear Cavalry. Originating from Gosport, kooky four piece Bear Cavalry give a new definition to the word fusion. A group of musicians, all sensationally talented and with the most intricately mature sound I’ve heard from a ‘first-band-on-the-bill’ for a long time. Foals inspired licks combine with calypso rhythms and a bit of thrashing metal added in there for good measure. A valiant blend of Nordic folk harmonies, Vampire Weekend inspired cross-rhythms, and all tied up with the string of indie wide-boy cheekiness. A shame to have had such an intimate audience, they truly outstood their slot in the bill.
Next up is rapper and song writer Random Impulse. Nothing really random or impulsive about this dude but his tunes are catchy enough. An NERD inspired mixture of slamming guitar chords and bouncy hip hop lyrics with a grimey undercarriage. A little too lyrically repetitive in his choruses compared to his quick witted verse spits, but he seems to get the crowd nodding. Openly inspired by the White Stripes (I think he mentions it in one of his songs) with a twist of WTF, Random Impulse could afford to test his genre fusing impulses a little more. A nod-worthy act for the second slot, which is always a hard one to fill.
The infallible CODA were next to grace the stage, the band who were tipped to headline the last Say Something before they unfortunately bowed out. With their soaring live trombone melody backed by pumping dub step, it’s almost impossible not to dance. Currently London based, this five-piece have been mastering the synthesis of dub step with live musicians since 2009. Their sets are a trippy blend of chilled out reggae and jazz rhythms, highlighted by live electric guitar and the most rock star trombone player I have ever seen. Beach-side paradise imagery gives way to ecstatic dancing as the bass kicks in and we are thrown a gushing bucket of a remixed The Prodigy’s Firestarter, finishing the set with tremendous energy and, yes, a lot of sweatiness.
By this point in the evening the dance floor had become increasingly difficult to move on, students piling in left right and centre to catch a glimpse of the infamous Rizzle Kicks. What did I say about an avalanche?!... The Rizzles kicked their way into their set, bounding on stage in Fresh Prince inspired attire to great applause. Through the sea of blackberries and i-phones that were immediately thrust into the air, the most I saw was a few fuzzy barnets bobbing up and down and a heavily dreadlocked guitarist who seemed to be enjoying himself. Now, I don’t want to sound like a grump, but where were all these people when Bear Cavalry got down with their trumpet? The Rizzle Kick’s songs are full to the brim with identifiable lyrics and mainstream catchiness; and it’s clear by the audience’s reaction that these two baby-faced rappers are onto a winner. Slightly disappointing that they felt the need to rap over a recorded version of Jessie J’s Price Tag – sorry- who are we coming to see here?! – a mere way of padding out their limited set by getting the audience excited by other people’s songs. Still, the audience seemed to enjoy it so that’s the main thing right? But for this reviewer, it is very rare occurrence when the first act on the bill totally trump(et?) the 80’s inspired shorts off the headliners.