Live Reviews

Nine Black Alps

Nine Black Alps
(Giant Drag supporting)
Camden – Electric Ballroom
1st November 2005

Giant Drag
Camden-Electric Ballroom
1 November 2005

Electric Ballroom. The venue verdict-always rad, but if I see anyone wearing stripes for a while I’m gonna hurl! What is it with Camden and friggin stripes. TopShop Capitalism has spread into punk-rock! When I 1st arrived there was a 1 piece giving it all he had on stage…so I hit the bar. I still have no idea who he was or if he was actually supposed to be there?!

Opening for Nine Black Alps is Giant Drag. This was different…very different. In fact so refreshing, for a minute I thought they would completely steal the show. It’s an unassuming 2 piece with the drummer playing-*get this*-drums AND keyboards at the same fucking time!!! If you pay close enough attention you will notice it ain’t just any old melody he is conjuring up on the keyboard-the guy was coordinating the entire bass-line while simultaneously playing the drums. Neither drums or bass suffered the consequences either. The quirky singer seems cute-in a 17yr old innocent girl kinda way, but she has the sweetest, sexiest voice that just fills an entire room in a Hole-Mazzy Star-Juliette and the Licks kinda way. The contradiction of their low-profile image on stage vs. their lyrics was the highlight as they hit off with “You fuck like my Dad”. They pulled it off with humor, elegance and most importantly have been the most un-pretentious band I have seen in a long, long, very very long time. Ok, I’ll admit Annie (lead singer) is probably certifiable, but you cant put a price on humor. Its so annoying seeing a band that takes themselves too seriously. They even finished off with taking a photo of the crowd *how sweet*. With such a great sound from such a budding band it is no wonder they sold out of EVERY single demo CD. Its pretty new, so hopefully it will hit retail pretty damn soon, cause I’m dying for a copy!

Nine Black Alps are up next. The venue starts flooding. Not sure where the heck they came from but it filled up within minutes. The local Manchester group kicks off with some top hits from their new album. Everyone was going mad with teenage angst! It’s the kind of gig that makes you feel old if you are over 12! None-the-less they were so damn good I even forgot which song they played first, last, 7th-who cares, they completely rocked!!! Their sound filled the room with a clean Nirvana reminiscent sound. A lot of their songs sounded better live than off their CD’s.

It’s not a new or revolutionary sound, lets be honest, but they still pull of a commercial sound with their own personalized flair. It was a good mix of full-blown rock, acoustic, melodic and finally a mass explosion of sound leaving no songs left to play for an encore. The guitarist and bass-player were showing off by swapping roles, and proved they can pull off each song effortlessly no matter where they landed up in the order of things. While NBA pull of each subtle flavour, I get the feeling that they are still searching for a sound to grow into. Judging from their live performance, once they find their unique path their will be no stopping them! Clearly they are a versatile band that we can expect great things from in the future…but the fact that the gig sold out in a well sized venue is word enough!

Niki Kova’cs