Sounds of Disco - Opera House - Bournemouth

The Plymouths + Thousand Natural Shocks + Underdown - February 2006.

Two minutes to doors and there’s panic at the disco. There are no lights, all the sound’s coming out of the drum monitor and there’s a horde of sulky teenagers clumping around outside in the queue. Not exactly the best start. However, some emergency electrical miracle is performed and before long Bournemouth band The Plymouths take to the stage. Coming on like The Kaiser Chiefs fronted by Eddie Izzard, The Plymouths are all bass-swells and synth melodies. First song ‘San Francisco’ gets things going and the crowd are leaping around before the first chorus, although this could just be the effects of the free lollypops handed out at the door. The band sound confident, polished and ballsy. Singer Nick milks the atmosphere for all it’s worth and the audience love him for it. Towards the end, the keyboard-heavy sound becomes all too predictable, but you try telling the kids that. With memorable choruses, hooks and a strong stage presence, expect to see a lot more of the Plymouths in the future. After such a strong opener, Exeter-based Thousand Natural Shocks will have to fight to keep the crowd’s attention. With a discordant and angular sound, TNS play with far more energy than expected on a Sunday night. The audience aren’t as responsive as they were to the Plymouths but with their unexpected time signatures and wired art rock posturing, TSN certainly make a few new friends. They’re not perfect; after a while it becomes difficult to discern the difference between one song and another. Songs like ‘Attack’, however, are put together and delivered with passion, a rare thing they’d do well not to lose. Headlining tonight are the dreadfully named Underdown. Coming from Bristol, a scene that boasts such bands as Iamthedoor and Big Joan, I expect a lot from them. With an emphasis on radio friendly choruses, they too are nicely polished and packaged but it ends up all too familiar. When they get it right, like on ‘Travelling’, with its achingly touching chorus, it works. But this just doesn’t happen often enough. The Death Cab for Cutie influenced ‘You and You Only’ makes a welcome change but unfortunately it’s too late - the crowd have drifted off for free Plymouths CDs and more lollies for the last bus home.
Image Attribution:
The Plymouths + Thousand Natural Shocks by Katie Britnell
Underdown by Nick Rutter