The Cheek, Apples, Houdini Dax

Huw Evans 28/10/2009

I arrived just in time to catch the last couple of songs from Houdini Dax. I have to admit I was slightly cringing at the vocals coming from the venue before opening the door and going in. The band itself sound pretty good, with an old school Beatles sound that's quite refreshing in this era where electronic music seems to be prominent. A nice and organic sound is very enticing but at times the lead vocalist sounded completely flat and it did let them down.

The next band up was Apples, a funky pop band from Hereford. Think Duran Duran and Bad Manners' love children, musically and not physically (they all had hair). These guys have a very pro sound and straight away you get the feeling that although they're young they know exactly what they're doing. The bass player Pedro Kirk is excellent with both slapping and pick techniques and drives the music with the rhythm section. The whole band pitches in with vocals and add to the 'summery' up beat sound. The first few songs Apples played were almost as if they were playing a genre, a calypso and reggae mix but without much of a song. They upped the game for the last three or four songs, though, which sounded excellent, and they ended with the single Reason 45. Bass player Kirk added some saxophone while the singer took over on bass. This young band are very talented in their songwriting. With a year or two to develop they could be massive on the British scene.

The main event are The Cheek, formerly Cheeky Cheeky And The Nosebleeds. They have two singers double-teaming your ears from both flanks with their art-rocker sound. There's no doubt that these guys are in the mould of Franz Ferdinand, with their 50s suits and danceable rock. The single Hung Up was released on October the 26th and has driving kick drums with an instant catchy hook to open it. You'll be instantly tapping your feet to this and if you could give any criticism it would be that the lyrics are a bit repetitive. In fact, that would probably be a criticism of The Cheek in general. The song Do Nothing is another disco sounding song with an instant hook at the start, with singer Rory dancing around like he has ants in his pants. I have to say Rory's dancing around and slightly distant look in his eyes as he sings makes him a very curious and intriguing frontman, along with vocalist and guitarist Charlie they make quite a team. The band finished the set with a cover of La Roux's In For The Kill, a song that's been so overplayed it does quite annoy me. Apart from that they made it almost bearable with their take on the song and it ended the night quite memorably.