Saturday, 22 February 2014

The Satellite Tour review - The Ballroom, Canterbury - 5th February 2014

Canterbury’s ballroom is a terrible venue for live music on paper. With obstructing furniture, a low stage relative to it’s obscenely high roof, one would expect the acoustics to get lost among the ornate decoration and encumbering architecture; yet the impressive PA readily compensates for tonights’ performances three: Sons & Lovers, Fred Page and headline act Eliza and the Bear. 

First contenders and Exeter residing four-piece Sons and Lovers take the stage and the few dozen people who worked up the nerve to scuttle across the dance floor for the eight o’clock kick off shift their attention front-ways. Opening with recent single Ghosts the crowd react amicably but not over-enthusiastically to the crunching guitar lines and chugging bass. The lack of prior knowledge of this relatively fresh pop-punk quartet makes for a stellar set but the lack of stage to crowd communication and familiarity blind-sides the audiences’ attention deflating attempts to woo them like the ambitious but contrived a cappella performance of Set My Heart which raised more eyebrows than arms. 

Now, following that, I have no doubt that Fred Page is a talented wordsmith and a competent puppeteer of the heartstrings lest he be enlisted into the Satellite tour; however, due to a number of factors, mainly his position on the running order, he does not entirely succeed in a submersive and captivating performance. The slow pace and introspective nature of his music makes for a pleasant accompaniment for those playing Flappy Bird under the cover of darkness while their mates go get drinks from the bar. At a medial interval and well aware of the situation at hand our gentle giant unravels to his towering 6’3 stature projecting a more domineering presence, well, as domineering as floppy hair and melancholic poetry can be. Dwarfed by Sons and Daughters’ quaking performance an unfair tone was set for Mr.Page, and had he the former act’s position on the roster maybe he would have been appreciated to a more appropriate extent. Although, the Page induced sedation in the atmosphere took the audience off guard for the explosive headline act that was to reveal itself shortly.

A slow ascension to the stage among the now fifty strong crowd relishing in the malaise of their complimentary Jägerbomb, Eliza and the Bear waste little time bursting into their first track, Upon the North, with incendiary impetus. Rattling through their set they rarely interlude or mute, bar the occasional ‘You out there Canterbury?’, retorted by roars and squeals by the now elevated crowd. Equipped with an arsenal of colossal choruses and a purging stage presence, tracks like Friends and fan favourite It Gets Cold are lapped up by the Canterbury locals. For a city with little exposure to live music The Satellite Tour was a much needed and compelling night whipping up intrigue, repose and occasionally ecstasy.

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