The Datsuns + Sons of Albion + Thoria @ Coventry Kasbah – 23rd October 2008


It doesn’t really seem right that a band as well known as The Datsuns have to play in room that would struggle to hold 200 people — not that long ago they were very definitely going to be the next big thing. However, the fact that the room is barely half full tells its own story; they are just not the draw that they once were.

What is even more interesting is that 50 of the tickets for tonight’s show had been sold by local support act Thoria, and given the hearty cheer that greets their arrival on stage they clearly have a lot of friends in the crowd. A spotter’s badge for any of you who recognise the name Thoria by the way — back in 2002 the band’s debut album was given 4Ks by Kerrang Magazine, and their first video was a big hit on both Kerrang TV and on MTV Two. Nowadays, they are less famous but much better at what they do, and tonight’s performance underlines the fact that they still have the credentials to make something for themselves. Their music is grungy, heavy and utterly captivating, particular as they are able to be progressive without losing your attention — as can be the case with bands of that genre when you don’t know the material. Thoria have a great live sound, particularly when both vocalists are singing at the same time, and they have an assured presence on stage and give a lively performance — none more so than their tea-towel wearing bass player, who doesn’t stay still for a second. A great offering from a band that should really be bigger than they are.


It was always going to be difficult for Sons of Albion to follow that — not just because of the quality of Thoria’s performance, but also due to the fact that they are from London and as such didn’t really have anyone in the crowd to support them. While their heavy, groove filled music was quite enjoyable, they did seem to have been afforded too long a set, and the more they played on the more people seemed to leave the room. It might be unfair to say that they didn’t fit the bill, but they probably would have received a better reaction had they been on stage earlier and not as direct support. Sons of Albion clearly have talent, but this was just not the right time for them to gain a Coventry following.


The sight of the Datsuns taking the stage almost goes unnoticed by those few that remain in the room, before the band grab everyone’s attention by launching straight into “Sitting Pretty”. Musically, the Kiwi quartet are everything you’d expect them to be — loud, crunchy, fast and tighter than Angelina Jolie’s shorts in Tomb Raider, but there is something missing from their performance tonight; there is a distinct lack of a connection between band and audience. The band do nothing to encourage any form of crowd participation, and they are silent in between numbers — in fact, the only words spoken by singer/bassist Dolf de Borst all night are “We’ve got two left”. As a result, the atmosphere in the room continues on a downward slide, and applause for each number gets less enthusiastic each time, with the exception of when “MF From Hell” and “Harmonic Generator” get an airing.


To be honest, the Datsuns look far from happy to be having to play this show; scrap that, they look seriously pissed off at having to stand up and perform in front of no more than 60 people, and as such they rattle through their set at lightning speed. Surprisingly, they do return for a one-song encore, but their attitude towards tonight is summed up at the end — the minute the hit the final chord of their final number, all of the amps are switched off, everything unplugged and the band were gone. This had the potential to be one of the great shows — such a big band in such a small room, but what we actually got was miles below what would have been expected, with Thoria being the only band to come out of it with anything positive. Certainly not the fantastic night that it could have been, and after tonight’s poor turn-out you’d be surprised if the Datsuns return to Coventry any time soon.


Review and Photographs — Dave Musson

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