Red Route + Matt Geary + Grand Union Revival + The Dead Fish @ The Barfly – 22nd March 2008

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Ever been to a school reunion? Well, that’s kind of what I’d walked into tonight at the Barfly, with all the bands, bar one, being previous occupants of a local school.

First up are The Dead Fish, unfortunately for them there wasn’t much of a crowd, at which the lead singer joked, “People at the front are getting crushed, so can everyone move back”. The lack of a crowd was a shame because the band put on a great gig, including the song “Osama Bin Laden in My Kitchen”. With shades of Joy Division, Dead Fish show real promise, definitely a band to keep an eye on.

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Next up to the plate was Grand Union Revival. It didn’t take me long to realise they were the odd ones out (not part of the school crowd). This band was very different from the shoe gazing Dead Fish. With legs akimbo and heads nodding, the crowd was transported back to the age of seventies rock. They were a great sounding band who obviously really enjoys what they do, but to me things did get a bit repetitive.

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So we’ve already had a Joy Division and Spinal Tap, what’s next?

Matt Geary is a singer songwriter. Armed with an acoustic and some thoughtful lyrics, he is here to inject the crowd with some emotion. Accompanying Matt on stage is Ed Inferno, a drummer with not only a cool name but also a keen fashion sense, and the guts to wear a white bowler hat. Straight away they show us the most melodic and lyrical songs of the evening. In between songs Matt needs time to tune his guitar, so he invites Ed to entertain with a drum and bass interlude – brilliant. By this time the crowd has increased in number and are no longer trapped behind a force field, not allowing anyone within four metres of the stage. Mr Geary is obviously a crowd favourite. With an EP and tour in the pipeline things are looking good for Matt.

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Last up are Red Route. With the first three bands all pulling out great performances, the pressure is on. The set kicks off with a great opener, immediately lifting any air of doubt about the bands credentials. It’s obvious that this band is who the crowd are here to see, note the dance section stage right. This is the longest the band has had to play, which enables them to try out some new tunes, all of which sounded great, showing the band are going in the right direction. Crowd favourites included “Drought”, “Junto” and “Mrs Nacimento”, which are described by the band as gypsy anthems. Continuing this gypsy theme, the band has recruited the help of a violin player who really adds some depth of sound to the band, let’s hope she is a regular fixture. The front man, known as “Midzy” was not only entertaining, but gracious, as he continually thanked the crowd and the other bands for the night, and he and the other members really enjoyed their debut at the barfly.

Is this what school reunions are like, I doubt it, but it would be a damn sight better if they were.

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Review – Sean Woodlock
Photos – Lucy Pryor

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