All good things come in threes. three Toy Story films, three musketeers, three Jonas Brothers…ok maybe not. But in the case of the Rock Sound Exposure Tour, three really is the magic number. Rock Sound magazine has picked three of the best bands from across the UK at the moment, and it seems that even the venue roof couldn’t contain its excitement that they were stopping off in Bournemouth. You see, the event was supposed to be held at Champions, but due to a minor roof collapse a last minute relocation to iBar was arranged. And you can’t get more intimate than iBar.
Before the main acts, local band The Blackwater Caravan have been given the task of warming up the crowd. The three lads give a decent performance but seem to be trying too hard to give off an indifferent and sulky vibe. They appear to have just stepped out of their parent’s garage and onto the stage and, whether it’s just nerves or a desperate attempt to appear ‘cool’, the crowd don’t seem convinced.
An entirely different reaction meets Japanese Voyeurs however, as the London five-piece launch into their uniquely hypnotic blend of grunge and metal. Unfortunately due to a few technical issues, front woman Romily Alice’s vocals are inaudible at times. But when she can be heard the crowd are treated to her truly mesmerizing voice. Think a 12-year-old girl trapped in an angry eye-liner clad woman’s body and you wouldn’t be far off. And boy, can that girl head bang. Hauntingly hypnotic, their slightly schizophrenic rock is weird, but in a good way.
Next up is Leeds trio, Dinosaur Pile-Up who also appear to be experiencing some microphone issues. But as soon as they launch into ‘Birds & Planes’, it’s like hearing a long lost friend. Heavily influenced by Foo Fighters and Weezer, DPU are reviving 90s grunge with all its huge riffs and faultless vocals and bringing it to a basement near you. The band appear to be right at home in tonight’s dingy setting which bassist Harry Johns perfectly describes as ‘like playing Lazer Quest’. After the huge teenage anthem that is ‘My Rock N Roll’, Johns launches into the crowd, soon to be followed by front man Matt Bigland, and the pair engage in what can only be described as ‘guitar wrestling’. The fact that they almost knock half the crowd unconscious with the mic stand is irrelevant. Health and safety just ain’t rock n roll dude.
The headliners for tonight have two tough acts to follow, but The Xcerts are more than capable of this challenge. As soon as they begin to make their spectacular noise, they have the crowd firmly in their grasp. Nobody hesitates to take a stride forward on guitarist Murray’s orders, causing everyone in the room to be practically on the stage. Considering that when the Scottish three piece last played iBar there were seven people in the room, three of whom were in the band, then it’s clear the lads have already come a long way. Their set of vibrating distorted pop is scattered with sing-a-long moments that most of the crowd seem to already know, particularly for the superb ‘Slackerpop’, tonight’s true masterpiece.
It’s highly likely that tonight show left everyone present with three new favourite bands. And providing they didn’t do too much damage to their eardrums by being in such close proximity to iBar’s speakers, then hopefully they will be blasting them from their bedroom speakers for years to come.