The Devil's Roadshow - Wedgewood Rooms - October 2005

by Tommy L

From my eight years of experience the Wedgewood Rooms’ local band nights have historically been underwhelming to say the least. Bar a few isolated instances, crowds have been dwarfed by the size of the venue and the music has been rather uninspiring. The birth of “The Devil’s Roadshow” thankfully seems to have reversed that trend, with audiences moving near capacity and a general buzz replacing the previous apathy towards the local scene. Large crowds alone however, do not a great night make, that’s the job of the bands. The onus of headlining this show fell on ‘Psyattica’ and sadly for them the crowd was beginning to dwindle by the time they took the stage. But in fairness, four bands on a Sunday night is a lot for most punters to digest. Upon seeing them I was firstly struck by their youth, but this was almost instantly overridden by an admiration for their musicianship. Each of them is incredibly competent with their instrument as well as working cohesively as a unit. Still, it’s songs rather than skills that make bands and that’s where they fall down. Despite having perfectly executed harmonies, a few nice guitar licks and some smart arrangements, for want of a better expression, they lack any soul. They have the same feel as countless American uber-rock bands that appear from nowhere and suddenly undertake sell-out arena tours. No-one knowing why or how they suddenly explode, but the likes of ‘Matchbox 20’, ‘The Goo Goo Dolls’, and ‘Live’ are testament to the fact that they do. Based on this, there’s almost certainly a market for Psyattica’s music. But... give them a few years and with the talent they have I feel they could move away from the AOR middle-ground they currently occupy and be very good. For the moment, however, while on the face of it they tick all the boxes and press all the buttons, they never really threaten to break out of an oxymoronic kind of flawless mediocrity.