I went into last Friday night with only a limited knowledge and opinion of some of Gigbeth's headlining acts, The Guillemots and The Young Knives but I left realising why they are two of the most popular acts among music fans in the UK.
Gigbeth 2008 was kicked off in rip rawing fashion by The Guillemots, who have developed an extremely strong following over the last few years with their thumping beats and charismatic Brummie front man, Fyfe Dangerfield. Their performance had the swagger and polish of one of the biggest alternative acts in Britain today, as well as a unique stage presence and immensely powerful sound.
Front man Fyfe bizarrely played the keyboard from a chair I would usually expect to see an old god fearing red kneck to be seated on outside a porch, sat like a coiled spring waiting for someone to look at him cock eyed, so as to validate blowing their heads off. The Guillemots had a similaraly assured presence to the Fleet Foxes (see review below) in that they performed with originality and assurance without pomposity or arrogance.
My stay with the band was short lived as, sadly I had to make my way over to the Barfly to direct Big Cat's photographer to the Young Knives performance.
The Young Knives are a band I keep a casual interest in as they come from the same country town as I do and my backstage patter with guitarist Henry Dartnall revealed that the man responsible for teaching guitar to him was, in fact, a lad I went to primary school with (I finally have a valid claim to fame that I can put on my tomb stone).
The Young Knives played a high energy set that had the intimate venue on its toes for the rest of the evening. The tightness and layout of the Barfly certainly contributed to the performance and the band felt a lot closer to the audience than the Guillemots had.
If I had to pick between the two acts, I would definately go for The Young Knives, and I know I'm biased, but their performance befitted what Gigbeth should be about, intamacy with the artists, high energy performance and just the fact that generally the mood around the place was heightened by their performance. Although The Guillemots do recieve a very creditable mention as I thoroughly enjoyed their set and they may have fallen foul of the fact that I had to leave after a couple of songs.
Hurray for Gigbeth!
Big Cat Group - Marketing, Creative, PR and Event Management Consultancy - Birmingham and London, UK