10th of August 2005 - Wootton Community Centre, Wootton, Isle of Wight.
by Stephen Field
There was a high expectation about this performance from Ten Percent Less and also an air of the somewhat unknown. It has been 11 months since their last live performance and with the loss of their lead guitarist, and the addition of Stewart Woodward and Luke Carter to replace him (both apparently to share lead guitar duties), I was eager to see what they could do. They didn’t disappoint. Opening with ‘Coming Home’, a song not performed live until now, was a brave choice but it set the scene for a fantastic set. Stewart played effortlessly, you could almost imagine he was born holding a guitar, a true talent both on lead and rhythm. After a succession of their own material, including several previously unheard tracks, came the first of three covers, Red Hot Chili Pepper’s Californication. By now the sweat was running down front-man Steve Wallder’s face as he belted out this lyrically challenging classic. Luke, like everyone but the legend himself, is no John Frusciante - this made him no less impressive to watch. The audience were getting hungry for something heavier and after a few more original tracks, including ‘Issues’ and ‘Get the Money in’ came another cover ‘Boulevard of Broken Dreams’ followed by a drum solo. Uniquely the band left the stage and all the attention was on drummer Matt Walmsley. Surprisingly the mosh got more intense; I’ve never seen a drummer hold an audience like that. Both crowd and drummer feeding off each other until it evolved, seamlessly into the intro to ‘For the People’ - a catchy, lively song that went down very well. Just as we were catching our breath the following song was introduced, along with the words, “we’re going to let the animal loose” and they weren’t wrong. Sung by guitarist Stewart, ‘Burn Brighter’ was their heaviest song yet which, considering their indie roots, was quite a change and highlights the diversity of the band. The crowd responded immediately, more people moved to the front and were greeted by something quite different to TPL’s usual style. It made for a refreshing change and certainly grabbed people’s attention. Next was ‘Broken Crown’. Not a heavy song but very upbeat. By now the energy and heat in the hall was quite something. Quite a stunning performance. Eventually the band left the stage and mingled with the audience before rejoining the stage when an encore was called. An excellent night and all profits went to a local charity. For more information take a look at their website www.tenpercentless.co.uk