Live Review: Laconia – Durham Live Lounge, August 28th 2010

Durham Live Lounge has only been made into a swanky looking music venue in the past couple of months, and it’s already attracting some pretty big names down its way. Maybe it’ll start to split the attention from the Academy over in the Tyne, who knows? Tonight, (for free to the first 25 people, may I add) the live show comes from the recently reformed Laconia, and they’ve got a support with them who’ve been a bit quiet as of late…

ODIN open things up, and it’s quite hard to tell what kind of music they’re trying to be. In equal parts poppy as they are riffy, their thrash-induced brand of metal doesn’t really seem to excite those dwelling by the bar, but the lads can definitely play their instruments well – against a bit of a sloppy sound system, they sound tight and collected. Throwing in a Trivium cover for good measure, not much can be said for their set, nor can it be thrown against them. Standard band, standard performance – good at their instruments, but they need to find “their” sound to progress.

A band that definitely have their sound down to a tee, is Sunderland metalcore outfit The Casino Brawl, this being one of a handful of shows the band have played as of late without recently departed vocalist Jonny Ferguson. His replacement comes in the form of ex-The Noise Explosion vocalist “Warby” Warburton (We don’t know his first name either) who takes no time to make the room his. Bursting into L Is For Liars, the band start to get the moves flowing, and they sound just as good as ever. While they almost have the look of a band reborn from scratch tonight, their unique blend of metal slays. They sound slick, and gut-wrenchingly heavy. It’s arguable that Warby’s vocals are stronger than that of his predecessor, while guitarist Adam Ridley still provides the occasional sweet-hearted melody to the mix, a la The Cause and The Definite Effect. A distinct lack of old favourite Into The Light doesn’t seem to phase, especially with fast-paced riffage coming from Time and Tide and the brilliant A Tower Of Silence. It’s under the ear of a lot of unfamiliar faces, but it looks like The Brawl have found their feet once more. Here’s hoping they’ll pick up from where they left off. Welcome back!

Laconia take to the stage and offer up a completely different platter. Hailing from (ironically, my armpit of a town) Chester-le-Street just down the road, they sound absolutely massive from the off. Their distancing alt-rock serves up heaps of maturity and class, smattered with big breakdowns and crunching metallic tidbits. It’s a very distinct sound reminiscent of the likes of Exit Ten in the sense that vocalist Scott Cavagan has a really great set of pipes on him backed up by some tremendous instrumentals, but it’s got it’s own, more commerical flavour to it, and it works for them well. The quartet round off a perfectly crafted array of songs, and although the closer-knitted crowd aren’t quite as reponsive, the band’s songs sound absolutely massive and do all the talking themselves. Like a pub band trying to explode out of their shell, Laconia are definitely ones to catch in a live setting – hopefully it’ll propel them to bigger and better things!

George Cannings.

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