My Passion

support Plastic Toys + Karn8
author AP date 21/10/09 venue Joiners, Southampton, UK

Along with my harddrive went five incomplete gig reviews when it decided to explode at the most critical time possible: a few weeks before my third year project interim report deadline. As you will undoubtedly understand, rewriting it became the utmost priority and some of these pending gig reviews were neglected. Turns out I find myself with some spare time and a razor-sharp memory though, and better late than never, right? The earliest of these gig reviews was admittedly already quite late, dating back as far as October last year, and for this I must express my sincerest apologies to Karn8 guitarist Neil Bones who had personally invited me to watch the band perform this evening (beer's on me at the next gig). I must also admit that I had no prior knowledge of the two other bands performing tonight, but then, gigs at the Joiners are often about discoveries, aren't they?


Karn8 took the stage as a trio, which actually didn't register with me until about halfway through the band's set. No bassist? Where the hell was the bass guitar coming from? Turns out Bones had applied some creative engineering to his guitar and amps to make it sound like a guitar and a bass at the same time - sounds farfetched but I kid you not, the bassy undertones were not the result of cheap samples, but a seriously wicked guitar tone. That guitar tone transforms Karn8's already bass-heavy music (recorded, I believe, in some cases using contrabass) live to absolutely monumental proportions so as to emphasize the growling South state blues rock that drives the band's music. Clever. But as soon as the novelty wears off, eyes shift to centre stage where Kirst Monica is working her way into the fantasizing minds of every male in the room, with the demeanor of a true seductress. She is dressed in a minimal leather outfit and throwing intriguing looks around in between the dirty tunes and playing her sex card very well - even daring audience members to buy her drinks and take her backstage - much to Bones' amusement, he tells me afterwards, and it is obvious that just as his guitar wizardry forms a crucial part of Karn8's music, so does Kirst's attitude and conduct on stage. It works so well with the slyness hidden in the songs; the whiskey-drenched, trashy soundscapes that the latest album, "Of All the Strange Things", moves through. Top notch!


Plastic Toys

Unfortunately I get caught up in an interesting conversation with Mr. Bones and manage to miss some of the first few songs this band churns out. Judging from the crowd reaction though, it's been solid stuff so far and it doesn't take me long to bob along. This band's music is from a different world than Karn8's, an electronica-infused dance rock band. Now, before you cringe at the thought, it's not as plain and uninteresting as, say, Fever Season; the tunes are actually decent, or at the very least, danceable. Still, and as energetic as the band's performance is, the music is too obvious to excite me. Bands like this come a dime a dozen in the kingdom and more is needed if the band hopes to differentiate themselves from the pulsating masses. Check them out though, as I hear they are all the rage in the local scene.


My Passion

My Passion sounded interesting on paper when I checked their biography out just prior to this gig and although their music feels a little manufactured, superficial even, no one in their right mind can protest the fact that their glamorous, metallic hard rock sounds pretty fucking sweet live. Not to mention that the band perform with the charisma of seasoned veterans and put one hundred percent into ripping this place apart tonight. Add to that a drummer who sings as well as Brandon Saller of Atreyu and plenty of rockstar attitude from band members dressed head-to-toe in Goth gear and you've got yourself a winner. It's the kind of performance that leaves you sufficiently impressed to recommend the band to others, yet fails to leave us wanting for more and falls just short of creating a fond lasting impression. Almost five months have shifted since this gig, so it's safe to say that if I have difficulty remembering specifics from the set, then it probably lacked standout moments aside from those mentioned already. Do not be discouraged from watching this band live though, as personally I felt the money I spent on beer as I stuck around, was well spent and boredom, you may notice, has not been mentioned in this paragraph.


N.B. the photos, including the front page photo, are all of Karn8.

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