Review: Sebastien Grainger & The Mountains + Ed Bagira, Hoxton Bar and Grill, Feb 10th 2009.

Ed Bagira, Hoxton B&G, Feb 10th 09

On a couple of occassions recently I’ve come away from gigs debating whether I preferred the unknown support band or the one I actually bought the ticket to see. A good advertisement for the healthy state of the London music scene at the moment and a fine reward for simply getting to a show early.

Tonight it happens again when I’m blown away by the Josef K meets Television meets Nirvana post-punk of ‘Ed Bagira’. Frontman Chris’ slight figure still manages to cut a good presence and his vocal style is a delicate balance between singing and timely, throaty growls. The three piece lineup of guitar, bass and drums provide that tight, direct sound that served bands like Nirvana so well. They can play some too, swapping instruments for a song mid set and showing no loss of fluency for another well worked jam of a song. I’m unsure whether the band had any input for it but the McDonalds ridiculing slideshow going on in the background of their set served as an amusing focus of attention for times when your eyes wanted to wander a little even if your ears were still very much engaged.

The catch of all this discovery is that Chris informs us that the band have never been called Ed Bagira before and will never be called it again (their drummer hates the name), they don’t have a myspace and they haven’t recorded any material yet. Tough to follow then it would seem but fear not I’m hopeful the band will check out the website and let me know of future shows and name changes. That’s if they haven’t lost the suspect piece of paper I handed them of course…

‘To The Bones’ are second on and their excellent looking t-shirts suggest they’re far more at peace with their name. Unfortunately that sounds like all they’re at peace with and a brief inspection confirms suspicions set in place by an earlier myspace encounter that their rock/metal noise, nevermind how well delivered, is not for me.

Sebastien Grainger & The Mountains, Hxton B&G, Feb 10th 09
On to the main man of the evening Sebastien Grainger and his merry men The Mountains. Canadian Sebastien used to be half of dark electronic rock duo DFA 1979 so we know he has talent. Tonight’s band is a very different proposition playing hard rock with big guitars, big vocals and some keys thrown in to nudge some songs towards more electronic territories. The songs are all good and a couple really very good like musicmule favourite ‘By Cover Of Night (Fire Fight)’. Sebastien is an accomplished frontman but would do rather better occupying centre stage currently filled by the straight out of 80’s metal, denim clad second guitarist and vocalist, Nick Sewell I believe. Nick seems somewhat out of sync with the look of the rest of the band and even musically pushes them a bit too close to Van Halen territory for comfort on occasions. If you can get over that though these are unashamedly big sounding, well crafted rock songs for you to shake your shit to! I can definitely see them in an arena somewhere in the US given the right exposure. Not for little British me though. Cough cough.

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