Friday, 21 March 2014

1/10/2007 Big Num @ the Dublin Castle

SubjectBig Num @ the Dublin Castle

This band was well worth a quick trip down to Camden on a Monday night to see. Big Num are one of those rare bands who always seem to get a good sound onstage. Maybe their secret is in their raw basic vintage AC/DC style sound - no floors full of effects pedals or flash amps with too many knobs on - just guitars plugged into basic Marshall valve stacks. No JCM 800 or 900's here - no need. These guys realise that good quality guitars and simple old style Marshall amps were all the equipment AC/DC needed to sound great - and it still works today. The amps look like classic pre-master volume single channel Marshalls, and I think they sound far better than the modern ones. So many bands these days are so obsessed with how loud or how fast they can play that they completely miss the point. These guys understand that it's actually how tightly and how well you play that makes a really good band. The Young brothers had that, and the Boston brothers have that too.
It helps that Big Num also have some good songs and (unlike most bands today) understand how effective and powerful a really simple but tight rhythm guitar can be. You have to do a double take to see if Malcolm Young is on the stage! There are also classic Led Zeppelin influences in their music, and hints of Thin Lizzy and The Darkness too. But what really shines out to me is that these guys really understand exactly why vintage AC/DC albums sound so great.  Without actually sounding like a tribute band (although I bet they could do a damn good job if they wanted to) they seem to have really distilled the essence of the Australian band's classic sound and used it to make a fresh brew of their own. They don't rely on image or fake 'attitude' like so many bands on the circuit - just good basic honest no-bullshit music. There is nothing contrived here - these boys mean it. Sometimes when you are watching a band play live you are just struck by how they are really good. This is one of those rare bands.

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