Support Act – 2:54 (www.myspace.com/thetwofiftyfour)
With a short set to kick off the evening, I was pleasantly surprised by this band. Consisting of two sisters – vocalist/rhythm guitarist Colette and lead guitarist Hannah – and a backing bass player and drummer, 2:54 are an unsigned band that hail from London. With churning distorted guitars and hushed vocals, the band’s sound reminds me a little of Nirvana, L7, Mudhoney and the similar dirty grungey bands of the early 90s. The music wasn’t quite to my taste – I’m not a huge fan of that kind of grunge, as I personally find it a little samey. 2:54 were no different in this aspect, with the same guitar sound and moody feel to all their songs. Having said that, I did really enjoy the performance. I’m a sucker for women who play the guitar, so it was a really fun experience for me to see two female guitarists rocking out and making powerful music on stage. Colette has a gorgeous voice that carried the songs (although they sounded a little too quiet in the mix), and once Hannah relaxed a little, she had a pretty good stage presence. Plus, you can’t deny that hearing such exciting music live is a really fun experience, even if it’s not something you’d listen to on your iPod.
The most disappointing aspect of their performance was how nervous both seemed to be, especially lead vocalist Colette! After storming the stage with their kick-ass first song (can’t remember which it was – Creeping possibly?), Colette announced “we’re 2:54”, before jumping straight into the rest of the set. After 30 minutes or so, they shuffled off stage in silence, leaving some people in the audience asking “…have they finished?” While they definitely relaxed throughout their time on stage, things still felt a little tense. I just wanted to go up to them and say “you’re great! Relax, we’re having a good time!” It must’ve been one of the biggest gigs they’d done so far, and so they were understandably nervous. There was something about the whole performance that felt very understated and tentative… as if they were holding back a little.
Download: Creeping, On A Wire, Sugar
Melissa Auf der Maur (www.xmadmx.com)
She was just incredible. After the atmospheric intro of “This Would Be Paradise”, MAdM and her three backing players stormed on stage and kicked off the set with a great rendition of “Isis Speaks”. She had an amazing stage presence, moving around the stage and shaking her long red hair in time to the music. As well as performing a number of popular tracks from her latest album, including the title track “Out of Our Minds”, “22 Below”, and “Lead Horse”, she also performed a handful from her debut album. I particularly enjoyed “Head Unbound” and “Taste You”, two songs which I sometimes find a little bland, but when performed live sounded incredible. I think my personal favourite was her rendition of “I Need I Want I Will”, where the instrumental sections featured strobe lighting, smoke machines, and a lot of head-banging on stage! It was such a powerful and inspiring performance. She finished off her surprisingly short set with a solo performance of her first ever song, “Good News”. It felt pretty anti-climatic to end the evening with such an understated performance, but other than that I had a fantastic time.
After a little waiting at the end, Melissa came out to meet her fans, who made me feel a little uncomfortable due to their pushiness. I eventually met her, where she signed my ticket and got a photo with me. She was lovely.
Download: Out Of Our Minds, Meet Me On The Dark Side, Followed The Waves