Sunday, 30 March 2014

30/10/2007 Big Num @ the Pleasure Unit

SubjectBig Num @ the Pleasure Unit

The Pleasure Unit in Bethnal Green is a dump. This shabby venue has to have one of the worst bars in London - and it's getting worse every time I visit. In spite of it presenting itself as a 'club' it's really just a pub venue, and rather a poor one at that.  There is no draught beer of any sort. At least they used to stock Newcastle Brown, then on my last visit I drunk the last bottle and they don't seem to have bothered restocking - I'm not sure if I can be bothered going there again. The beer choice tonight is cans of either Guinnness or Carling - nothing else. It's like they just don't care if anyone goes there or not. 

In spite of the less than welcoming venue, there is quite a respectable turnout to see some unknown bands in an East End toilet venue on a Tuesday night. Unfortunately, most of them leave as soon as the band they've come to see has finished playing. I can't say I blame them really as the place is such a dive.  No pictures tonight - the stage lighting (or lack of) is so poor in this venue that my cheapo camera's autofocus won't work. 

As I arrive there is a band playing who seem to want to be the Libertines. They are terrible. If you are going to try and emulate another band, you might try to pick one who could play better than that - hardly something to aspire to... Still, maybe it's their first band - or first gig even, and everyone has to start somewhere. If I'd seen my first band (or most of them even) I'd probably have thought they were rubbish too so... The next band aren't much better, but they seem to get going a bit as they warm up towards the end of their set and play a song which sounds a lot like 'Guns Of Brixton'.

Big Num are excellent as usual, although they play a disappointingly short headline set. Even in a venue like this they still manage to get a great sound. I notice that unlike nearly all other bands, they are no effects pedals at all on the stage - I think this is part of the secret to them always getting a great sound.  You don't hear the Young brothers in AC/DC playing though loads of effects on their classic albums - if you have top quality guitars and amps (Gibson/Fender/Marshall in this case) and know how to use them, you simply don't need any effects to get a great sound. These boys emulate AC/DC not just in their classic sound, but also by having not two, but three brothers in the band. This might be also part of the reason (again like AC/DC) that they sound really tight.  There are other influences apart from the Australian band in Big Num's sound - shades of Led Zeppelin, The Darkness, and Thin Lizzy can also be detected. Add those influences to some excellent songwriting and you have a great band - one I seriously believe could go a long way with the right breaks. In spite of the other bands and the shabby venue, Big Num made it worth the trip down to Bethnal Green on a Tuesday night.

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