No 39 Hopstar Brewery Tap, Darwen
Thursday January 31st 2013
Out of hibernation for the first gig of the year, i’m picked up by two thirds of Positronik and we head up the “Devil’s Highway” (the A666) to a delightful venue in Darwen Town Centre. Real ale at very reasonable prices, a great atmosphere, all in all a good place to see a band (indeed I would highly recommend it to my musician chums as a place to get some live experience in front of an appreciative audience).
We arrive before Messrs Stephens and Powell and settle down for a chat about various matters over a delicious pint of “Lancashire Gold” …..headliners “Freedom of Expression” have had to pull out because of illness (a pity as I was looking forward to seeing them), so Exchange were headlining. Only their second gig, the duo appear remarkably calm as they set about setting up the gear. The line up is Jed Stephens – bass and Mike Powell – Vocals, Guitar and Keyboards. If you have not heard the band before then I suggest you check out their debut album “Systems” which is available from the website. You will note from their Facebook Page where these guys influences are coming from and the inclusion of New Orders “Temptation” in the set-list pretty much gives you a clear steer on the type of music you are going to hear.
Starting with a muscular reading of “Hydro” the band demonstrate that they can translate their recorded tracks to a live setting with some ease and indeed the overall sound is punchier and more driven than on the album versions. Once the mixing has settled down and Mike’s vocals are a little more audible the overall performance is very good indeed and given it’s only their second live outing very assured. Notable is the bands ability to work with the pre-recorded material to craft a dynamic live sound which builds around Mike’s busy rhythm guitar work and Jed’s use of the bass as a lead melody instrument.
All in all a great set and a successful second gig for the band. And the bonus is they got paid for playing! I’d like to see the band in a larger venue where the audience can get up and do a bit of dancing as they certainly have the right sound and rhythm to allow for some energetic movement….not by me of course, not with my back!
Hydro, Active, Future, Liberty, Motion, Temptation, Contour, Pylon