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After walking past the vast queue waiting to see T-Pain in the O2 Academy, I entered Bar Academy only to be met by a handful of people and unfortunately this tiny crowd did not grow much as the night progressed. First on was Ché, a 5-piece band from Worcester. They played a short, melodic set full of edge and intrigue. The lead vocals from Lydia were strong and delightful. She really has a great, distinct voice that was soft but powerful. With the additional vocals from guitarist Howard, they created some great harmonies.

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Generally it was a pleasant performance and they write very easy to listen to songs. It was unfortunate, however that the distortion from the guitars and dominant bass drowned out an immense vocal. This distortion became Ché’s main downfall. A more crisp, tight sound would have shown off the skilled guitar picked melodies a lot better. With that ironed out, Ché will be a fantastic live act.

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Sandwiched between two alternative melodic rock bands was the hard-hitting Sienna who stamped their presence with piercing screams from the off. It was quite a brutal force in comparison to the other bands playing tonight and it certainly got peoples attention. The combination of Sam Duggins’ metal screams and Adison’s indie melodies were quite reminiscent of Alexisonfire. The tempo of the guitars and drums altered depending on who took lead vocals, which created an interesting and diverse sound. At times they had an almost eerie tone especially in ‘Under a Burning Sky’ where the guitars really stood out.

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‘For the Harlot’ jolted and pounded, Sams’ growls and whispers demonstrated his exceptional ability. He is a confident frontman. The drums were strong and the guitars tight and intricate, but sometimes a little too distorted to fully appreciate. The melodic vocals could have been a little stronger, however for a band that has only been playing together since November 2008, they have great talent. They are an energetic band and with a little work to polish their performance; this young Birmingham band should have a promising future.

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As Lights Action took to the stage bright lights shone out as their backdrop. Frontman Patrick ushered the still small crowd forward and all obliged creating an intimate gig atmosphere. They began with thumping drums before changing tempo with the catchy ‘Battle of Lovers’ where someone in the crowd shouted out that it was “perfect”. Immediately it was evident that this band was bigger than the venue, but there was no real fan base here. Throughout the gig I tried to figure out what was missing. They are an extremely professional and well-presented band and remained so throughout their entire set, and they were clearly extremely talented musicians. Their songs are melodic but maybe lacked just a little in variety. However this was the only downfall I could really think of. Patrick’s vocals were passionate, compelling and flawless. In fact the whole band put on an almost immaculate performance.

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Their songs are a mixture of upbeat melodies and soft ballads such as ‘Moscow’. The more edgy ‘Young Scarlett Young’ really stood out as it built up in power and angst as the song progressed. There was a lot more emotion in this one and I could see that it captivated the crowd. The layers of string instruments and piano made it a little different from the rest. ‘Travellin’ Man’ got people’s heads nodding along with its superb bass and great beat. The guitar picking throughout the set was intricate and refined and the use of a bow to strum was an interesting addition to the bands sound as it created something a little more serene.

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Halfway through the set they did a more indie sounding version of Sam Sparro’s ‘Black and Gold’. This in particular got a good reception, as it was something more familiar, but also because their version had more bite than the original. I did notice that a lot of the people were chatting amongst themselves throughout the gig. I felt that this was a real shame, as Lights Action were not given the attention that they clearly deserve. Overall though tonight was a brilliant varied show with three British bands all with bags of talent and hopefully great futures

Review – Karen Trenbirth
Photos – Ian Dunn

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