Among The Echoes + Before The Story Ends + Shinkicker at the O2 Academy 3, Birmingham, UK – 25th January 2013Posted by Bianca on Friday Jan 25, 2013 Under Electronica, Pop-Punk
Gig Review by John Kennedy
Gig Photos by Ian Dunn
Shinkicker’s youthful Rrrawk-raw Metal/Blues abandon kicked off with a generic Steppenwolf homage sound-alike ‘Magic Carpet Ride’. Subsequent flavours of Taste’s ‘What’s Goin’ On’ indisputably nailed their colours (denim) with teenage invincibility firmly to the amp-stacks. And, it’s taken this reviewer nearly 45 years to celebrate seeing a cock-sure lead singer wearing glasses. How blasé ballsy is that? Shamelessly confident, musically sharp and dangerous as a sack of scythes at a blind jugglers’ Monsters of Rock convention, they’d best get those GCSEs out the way because this twelve-bar mongrel bastard boogie just might get serious.
With a drummer unleashing all the frantic energy that only a man with scotch-bonnet chili suppositories can truly articulate (it was Burns’ Night after all) Before The Story Ends‘ two guitars crashed and New-Wave thrashed through a set of numbers so utterly unconfused by artifice one could almost imagine they were making it up they went along. Meanwhile, the pixie-petite, leather ‘n copiously chrome studded, lava-haired voxtress, Von, seemed more inclined towards clannish supporter inclusivity than keeping an eye on the band’s sometimes errant testosterone mischievousness. Immensely good fun all the same. There’s a hell of lot going for this band and a wider audience eager to embrace them. Anarchy is ok but it needs to be well prepared. Tighten up – hang loose – go mental.
Our friends, the electro-eclectic, Among The Echoes’ esoteric name serves them well. No fear of verisimilitude here. Their website is framed by Alexandre Cabanel’s Victorian melodramatic portrait of the Nymph, Echo. She was one of the many victims of the Greek Godfather, Zeus’s, rape by proxy (swans, shower of gold etc). To which, and a bit harsh this, his wife Hera, out of jealousy, subsequently condemned her to wander pastoral glades repeating all she heard. Then she falls in love with the self-obsessed, poseur pond gazing Narcissus who later tops himself because he can’t bear the thought of his beauty fading. Christ! No wonder Greece is in the state it is! How all this symbolism (more like Electro/Dark-Wave embolism, actually) ties in, is anyone’s guess. Fun though.
‘Flowers And Plastic Butterflies’ opened the brief set with reassuringly Roland synth sepulchral Dead Can Dance/Blade Runner like atmospheric dystopian grandeur as co-vocalists Rachael O’Hara and Ian Wall arrive on stage unassuming, unannounced. Next along came ‘Talk-Talk’ with its band-signature of Dark Wave with side-orders of disco Goth and arabesque tonal drone. With a cryptic reference to 1984 ‘Feels Like Heaven’ came across as a closet power ballad but for the chorus providing a corrective minor key shift just to keep emotions in check. The glorious guitar effects on ‘Confusion’ reverberated in cavernous splendor as though processions of gossamer-cowled monks shimmered past. And, yes, that’s a drug-free extended metaphor for you. Even more fun was to be had with diverse influences suggesting Yazoo and Enya doing Black Sabbath covers with a Carmina Burana chorus line. (We did agree on ‘eclectic’). ‘Freak’ was a bouncy dance sort of post-apocalyptic Euro-Heavy Merkell road-song probably only available on eight-track cartridge.
Encore time invited the fireworks in a furnace Punk minx Von from BTSE for a fog-horn flagellating rendition of ‘Sweet Dreams’. And, indeed such was the sheer joy and diversity of the evening’s fare, that’s exactly what we all enjoyed later, cuddled up with our teddies.