Saturday, May 17, 2008

Estranged Time

StrangeTime/Girls Drink Free/Firebrand/Cellar Door, Little Civic, Wolverhampton, Friday May 9 2008, 8pm.

This has been announced as drummer and founding member John O'Neill's final gig with StRANGEtIME, news that sees some openly questioning the band's future while Kate and Chris seek a new sticksperson and an additional guitarist. With fine new ep 'Oneitis' showcasing a heavier sound and increasingly inscrutable lyrics, it all seems curious timing, but for sure these are strange times indeed for StRANGEtIME.

West Bromwich's Cellardoor open things up nicely with their atmospheric instrumentals, impressing with their powerful surges of sound, while Firebrand are a three-girl hard rock band from Leicester and Nottingham who deliver a handsome racket with slightly strange lyrics, an uncompromising attitude and last but by no means least, a really hot drummer. Last of the supports Girls Drink Free are a popular local outfit with an eye-catching name and crowd-pleasing brand of ska-flavoured rock sure to go down well with fans of big shorts.

By the time the headliners are on stage the audience has got bigger and lairier, and one of the guys from Girls Drink Free is waving a placard of the Guns 'n' Roses guitarist in bassist Chris Maher's face (trust us, dear reader, any comparison between the two is pure Slash fiction). StRANGEtIME do well in concentrating on the job in hand, in terms of promoting the ep through taut renditions of choice cuts like 'Profile' and 'Siren', their new hyper take on longstanding live favourite 'Ex' and a hard-hitting climax with the title track 'Oneitis' itself. If this is to be the last StRANGEtIME show (for a while at least, and with the current line-up) then it's one hell of a calling card to leave with.

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