Monday, 30 January 2017

Gig Review: The Ataris at The Craufurd Arms, Milton Keynes 25/1/17

The week beginning the 23rd of January marked the start of the UK's Independent Venues Week. IVW is a week long celebration of the independent music scene in the UK and the venues that are necessary for independent artists to have somewhere to play. Emma and I had plans to go to two events during the week, the first was seeing The Ataris play at The Craufurd Arms in Milton Keynes.

We made it to the Craufurd Arms just in time to see the opening band, The GetGone. Formed in Milton Keynes and featuring members of Capdown, 100hz and Last Of Our Heroes, I was expecting big things from the four piece. From the outset they did not disappoint. They describe their sound as melodic punk rock music and I think that's a perfect description. The gruff vocals from the lead singer had me hooked immediately and I found myself really wishing I knew the songs so I could sing along. The song in their set that particularly stood out to me was Choke. This track started slow, with an almost pop punk style sing-a-long before exploding into life with a second singer taking the gruffer section. The two contrasting singing styles worked perfectly. I will be checking out more from The GetGone and hope to see them again soon.

Up next were another local band in the form of All Tied Up. I have to be honest, when I read their description I wasn't sure I was going to enjoy the pop punk four piece. I'm not keen on the new wave of pop punk music that is massive amongst the kids at the moment so wasn't really expecting much from All Tied Up. Then they started playing with such energy and enthusiasm for what they do that it was impossible not to enjoy it. The band's frontman Dave Palfreyman in particular looked like he was having the greatest night of his life. I just got swept up in it all - tapping my feet, nodding my head, smiling away to a great band. The band were so slick and polished as well, a lot of effort has clearly gone into the band and it's great to see. If you like pop punk, All Tied Up are a band you should be checking out.

Now it was time for the headline act, Indiana's The Ataris. Lead by Kris Roe with a much changed line up, I was looking forward a night of nostalgia hearing songs I grew up listening to many years ago. The Craufurd Arms was now close to full with a lot of people feeling the same was as me. Playing a set consisting of mainly tracks from the band's most popular album, So Long Astoria. This was quite a hard set for me to review because as much as I enjoyed singing along with so many classic songs, there were a few things I disliked about the set. First up was the lighting. Kris requested for no lights to be shone on the stage. I assume this was because it was in his eyes so hard to see but it made the stage feel quite dark. Personally I like to see the whites of a performer's eyes when I watch them live, it gives that important sense of everyone being in this together rather than the "them and us" feeling that clouds other music scenes. That was only a small gripe. My other and slightly bigger gripe was the over use of effects during and between songs. What I was hoping for was a night full of nostalgia but it turned into an hour of songs I loved being extended with lots of effects, solos and distortion that, for me, really took a lot of excitement away from hearing the songs played live. That said it didn't stop me singing my heart out to favourites such as San Dimas High School Football Rules, So Long Astoria, The Hero Dies In This One and, of course, Boys Of Summer. The very next day I found myself singing these songs to myself at work, so despite all of the effects that I wasn't so keen on, the tracks remained as catchy as ever.