Barfly – London
The first thing that struck me when I arrived at Barfly on this evening was that for a sold out show not many people were about, but that only meant that I could at least bag myself a decent spot from which to stand and watch Between The Trees, a band who although little known already have an extensive touring list under their belt.
Opening with “Forward” a song “we wrote about you” I’m pleasantly surprised to find that they are full of energy and enthusiasm, rather than the moody emo vibe I was expecting considering a lot of the subjects the touch upon. They even managed as the set progressed to get the audience that had gathered to watch to drop the pretence of being to cool to dance and at least have a little teeny bop.
The next song “Fairweather” begins smelling like Panic @ The Disco with the can’t help but tap your feet rhythm holding it all together and the lyric “Your heart starts racing like a bullet from a gun” sung with such a perfect clarity that I feel as though I have actually just been shot. Lead singer Ryan Kirkland has one heck of a set of lungs and a voice so perfect in its pitch and tone that I never notice him falter in the entire set. I’m willing to bet that he’s never smoked a cigarette in his life and he trains his voice as often as he prays, and judging from the many hidden and obvious references to God in their songs I’d say he’s at least a 3 times a day kind of guy.
Props to their lighting man as it’s perfectly balanced against the emotions of each tune never more so than the red moody lighting in “The Way She Feels”. A song that deals with a very current media issue of self harm the red lighting and slow build into a chorus of “Then she closed her eyes, found relief in a knife” the band tell a story with their performance. Affiliated with “To Write Love On Her Arms” (www.myspace.com/towriteloveonherarms) they’re even selling the shirts in their merch which they shamelessly ask you to buy because the suitcases are too heavy to take home to Orlando.
I can completely envisage these guys on a much larger stage as The Barfly seems to stifle them, its closeness being too close. They look cramped, as if they have so much more to give and not the room to spread their wings. They play a new song “Story Of A Boy” which at first I thought was pretty brave as they’re trying to win this rooms affection, but heck in that situation you may as well just give them whatever you fancy right? I’d say that this band are pretty upfront and ready to rise to any challenge, hell they dealt with the pretentious crowd in the room with playful banter designed to draw attention to the fact that they were feeling segregated up there on stage. Ryan gets on the piano and this is the only time I can fault their performance because underlying somewhere in this song a beat was out or something was off key, but it was so slight that had I just been watching for my own entertainment I’m quite sure I’d never even have noticed.
Closing with “Red Lights, White Lines” I’m wishing that they had a few more to give, but alas it was over with a mouthful of water from Brad Kriebal (lead guitar) spat in the face of Mr Kirkwood. Beat, melodies, lyrics and a tight performance this band have all the ingredients to bake you a cake and send you home happy. Entertaining you is what they’re there to do and they do it so well that they manage to have a load of fun too.