Sunday, 31 August 2014

11/3/2012 Stereo Juggernaut @ Nambucca

SubjectStereo Juggernaut @ Nambucca
DateCreated3/18/2012 6:28:00 PM

Sunday night - my third night out in a row at a gig, and my luck is starting to
run out.

The evening doesn't get off to the best start when I find out that Harringay doesn't seem to have any rail stations open tonight, and my journey requires two of them - so I end up having to walk from Finsbury Park to the venue in Holloway Road. Fortunately it only takes about twenty minutes.

Namucca has proved to be a very good value for money venue over the last couple of years - part of the reason it's just won 'Local Venue of the Year' at the Pure Rawk Awards. It's cheap to get in tonight, but when I get to the bar I get my second surprise of the day - the price of a pint has gone up by a shocking amount since my last visit!

One of the things I really liked about this place was that it served real ale (currently Bombardier) at reasonable prices - around what you'd expect to pay in the local pubs. It's now rocketed to well over £4 a pint!

That's around the same as most major music venues are charging now - the days of reasonably priced beer at Holloway Road music venues are well and truly over - which is a great shame as this is one way in which this area really scored over Camden.

I'm only here tonight to see Stereo Juggernaut and none of the support band's names ring a bell so I'm not too bothered about them - I've missed the first band anyway. Mick Monsta was on the door when I arrived and he said he could bet which two bands I was here to see; He was right about Stereo Juggernaut, but I'd never heard of the other band he mentioned.

The first band I manage to catch is a bad metal band - very generic super heavy outfit with a terrible screaming and grunting 'singer'.

It's not that I don't like metal - I love the classic stuff - the stuff with actual songs as opposed to some bloke screaming unintelligable lyrics over the top of some unimaginative and leaden riffing.

Half a song was enough to have me retreating to the bar - where some rather tasty homemade hot potato snacks were being served up for free - helping to take the sting out of the inflated beer prices.

Next up was a female fronted rock band - like the previous lot I had no idea who they were.

Unlike the previous band, this lot turned out to be pretty good!

The singer is excellent - not just a pretty face.
A real breath of fresh air after the previous act.

As well as being a quality vocalist, this girl has great stage presence - she really looks like she knows what she's doing - without appearing too 'schooled' like certain other career minded performers. They are all good musicians and play well together as a band. On top of that they actually have decent songs - unlike the previous act.

The band turn in an entertaining and enjoyable set - quite polished but still rocking hard enough to be very convincing. They look like they have been playing together for a while, so I'm surprised I haven't come across them before.

I make a mental note to find out who this lot are as I wouldn't mind seeing them again....

And so, onto the headliners. Stereo Juggernaut have drawn a reasonable crowd for a Sunday night in a less well known venue. Apart from my new gripe about this venue (beer prices) there is one other thing that has pissed me off on nearly every visit, although it's something that won't bother most people at all - in fact I'm sure some people like it. The bloody smoke machine!

This is the reason there aren't any decent pictures of this band tonight - the smoke machine might add 'atmosphere' but it makes photography virtually impossible. On another recent gig here even one of the bands complained that they couldn't see us and we couldn't see them!

Things continue to evolve in the Stereo Juggernaut camp. Newish bassist Asha is fitting in well and looks quite at home in the band. Keyboard played Dan has just departed and is yet to be replaced. I was thinking this might lead to a different and more guitar led feel to the band's show. In fact the opposite is the case. Instead of having a human being on stage to play keys and trigger samples, it's now all coming straight from a laptop - and it's far too loud! It just doesn't sound like a live band tonight. Rueben is a great drummer and could easily play in a full on metal band if he wanted, but much of the drum sounds we are hearing tonight are coming from the laptop instead of being played live - drum intros are heard - while the live drummer sits there and waits to come it. I'm sorry but I don't get it. Ben is a great guitar player, but he's almost completely inaudible tonight - and the same applies to his vocals. Stereo Juggernaut are actually a pretty good rock band with some quality songs, but you'd never know it underneath all the techno trickery. For all you can hear of the musicians tonight they might as well have stayed at home and somebody could just have plugged the laptop into the P.A. - and turn the smoke machine up just a little more to completely blot out the stage and no one would have been any the wiser.

Unfortunately the band go on over an hour later than than advertised, so I have to leave before the end to catch my train.

On the way out I ask Mick Monsta about the band with the girl singer - and I discover I was actually watching Lauren Harris! Yes, it's the Iron Maiden bass players daughter - who I have actually seen twice before at Hertford Marquee and Sonisphere with her own band. I didn't recognise her and had no idea! She has now reinvented herself and got a new band instead of trading on her name. The band is called Six Hour Sundown and I shall be looking out for them in the future...
PS: This venue closed in early 2014.

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