…Made it to a gig at Mr Kyps before it started, which is two rarities for me in one sentence – got to be a winner! I’m surprised at the capacity crowd for what to me was a poorly advertised night – I even struggled to find a door time – however there are two local bands here I’ve been wanting to see for some time so worth the effort to drag myself past my other popular venues to reach this one.

Kings of Hearts are very energetic with their music, solid and heavy, yet melodic rock. Rhythmic bass lines, catchy guitar picks & riffs, tight drums, epic choruses, everything that is good about rock is here.
Even better, lead vocalist Phil’s lyrics are clear and audible, a bonus in this day and age of mumbled, shouted or just generally distorted vocal lines.

With Kings of Hearts finally I hear a band that are able to give name checks clearly throughout their performance, it’s a shame they’re not actively working the crowd to the potential their music delivers; the applause is there for them, just not the mad banging or pogoing I’d expect to accompany these guys.

Another rare nicety – a guitar needs tuning, and there’s no spare, so the guys just jam until it’s ready, finishing off by jumping straight into another not-yet hit, tight. To me, that’s the other thing missing – I don’t know Kings of Hearts stuff; I think I’d like to based on this performance – they’re just not giving me the titles, the set transitions are so slick. Good stuff. 

The set is over far too quickly for me – a very good sign.

A short break and on with The Sabres. I was a big fan of the previous incarnation Hoffman Sloth, and had picked up early Sabres tracks from the much missed Dorset Rock Online site.

Straight in after announcement into Out Of My Mind, another energetic number yet this time attemping to slightly engage this audience, who still  just seem to be happy supping their beers and rocking along.

These guys again are tight, no wonder considering their heritage. This time round, lead Richie seems to have learnt that complex lyrics and complex guitar work don’t go well together, and keeps them segregated
He’s also there with the name checks and promo stuff – something one has to do when playing a crowd that might not have come out for you.

There are clearly some other previous incarnation fans here, when The Sabres break into an older number the place starts waking up a bit at the front, although by this time there seems to be a bit more space around…

Again, the set is over all to quickly for me, although listening around some weren’t overly enthused by the show – pooh to them I say, I enjoyed it.

On to Mirrorkicks, down from London. I’ve not come out to see these guys, as regulars here will know my focus is on locally sourced music. They open with a sad-rock mellow number, which while not a fave of mine (or the crowd by the lacklustre applause) is well executed.

Another 3 piece,  Mirrorkicks have their 4th man – a synth – providing continuity between songs. The bass player is fairly active compared with the movement of the other bands, strolling around the stage as he underpins band intrumentals and speeches from said 4th man. Unfortunately these are the only clear vocals, except when the music quietens and lead Edwin sings almost a capella, where his voice comes across very cleanly.

Things also wake up at this juncture, while the wailing lyrical style continues the bass and drums kick up into a comparitive frenzy.  These types of numbers also go down with the remaining crowd (it’s definitely thinned out a bit, 60 at a rough guess, down from “feeling full”)

My overall feeling is that these guys are probably great to listen to album-wise, the live performance I’ve witnessed tonight just isn’t there for them to shine out to me as a London band hoping to make it outside. …Alice is a case in point. A beautifully appealing song, chords to really cut you, heart rending lyrics sung with real passion, a fantastic anthem, and the crowd seem to agree.

Maybe I’ve set the bar too high; they are good and tight, as have all bands been tonight, I’m just not sure I’ve been entertained. Just as I write this near the end of the set, we get a funky number started by the synth, and things wake up; the last song is really lively by comparison to all the other stuff, much more appealing to this hacks tastes!