Brigade + Slaves To Gravity + Templeton Pek @ Birmingham Bar Academy – 29th July 2008


The Birmingham Bar Academy, a relatively small venue, 3 big bands, a very hot crowd, a good evening to follow, right?
At approximately 8pm Templeton Pek clamber onto the small stage and play a mixture of indie, punk and pop-rock tunes. As the first band on stage they experience a quiet audience but show no signs of weakness, they play their stunning single ‘If All Else Fails’ and this seems to liven the crowd up slightly. The next song that follows is the beautiful ‘No Association’ – I imagine this will be a big hit once released – sounding like a cross between Feeder and Fightstar they will indeed be a popular band! As their set continues people begin to bob their heads in respect for this Brummie band.
Having toured with the likes of Mindless Self Indulgence and Furthest Drive Home, Templeton Pek are definitely a band you should watch out for!


Next to follow were Slaves To Gravity immediately getting attention from the girls in the audience; as vocalist Tommy Gleeson is topless and quite easy on the eyes. After giving a little speech to the audience about being grateful to be touring with Brigade and Templeton Pek, they burst into their song ‘Too Late’ which can be found on their debut album ‘Scatter The Crow’. The crowd go mental for this band. Slaves To Gravity clearly have a lot of fans and, after a short period of time, the band are sweating and so are the audience but this doesn’t stop anyone! Their music has a certain originality about it and every song they played is most certainly anthemic. A lot of bands lack this skill but this band seem to do it effortlessly.

When the band begin playing ‘Mr Regulator’ it seems to be popular with the audience, especially with a group of guys who headbang very passionately along to it and sing a long to every word. Slaves To Gravity finish their set by playing the amazing ‘Pluto’, the guitar and drums in the beginning of this song are so strong, they manage to make my hairs stand on end! Smooth, sensual vocals singing “My sweet angel, long way into your lights” rather seductively. Fans of HIM and The Zico Chain will adore this band!


Finally the band everyone has been waiting for, Brigade grace us with their presence at approximately 9:45pm. People who were there just to see this band have had a long wait but they believe it to be worth it. Having seen this band before, I knew what kind of music they played but tonight seemed to be an off night for them, I found them to be uninspiring and their music was melancholic. Between each song they interacted with the audience, and at one point made a rather dull joke, “What is hotter than the the Sun? This venue” (It may sound familiar, it is a slight twist on the Partridge joke). A fan shouted the joke back at them with a little more emphasis on the accent and that got the crowd and band laughing. Listening to the singles you can see this band are able to make catchy tunes, ‘Stunning’ is pop rock at its best and does make you want to jump around but hearing it live this time was a little bit of a let down. ‘Sink Sink Swim’ was the least interesting song as it just became very repetitive and the guitar just seemed to become noise in the background.


Everyone will know this band because of vocalist Will Simpson’s ‘famous’ brother Charlie Simpson (ex-Busted/Fightstar) and I believe they are trying to break away from that and get a name for themselves. They will indeed do that as they are capable of writing good songs, they just need to find their feet and make their songs sound a little more confident as they are still quite amateur sounding. Will also needs to be more selective about echoing his voice whilst playing live as at times it can be rather annoying.

On the whole this was a very good gig and I enjoyed Templeton Pek and Slaves To Gravity. I look forward to hearing plenty more from these bands!

Review – Georgina Walsh
Photos – Steve Gerrard

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