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Wednesday, 30 January 2013

The Dark Eyes Live: A Review

It’s a strange place to encounter the rock star dream but in a pub in deepest darkest Telford I can assure you that it is alive and well. There was still snow on the ground and I had lost the feeling in my feet but the signs were good. The sound check passed without incident and conversation had turned to Phil Collins and gorilla suits… It was that sort of a night.

The band was due on at nine, but nine came and went and the band weren’t on stage. And why would they be? They are a rock band after all. But despite the small delay the audience didn’t have to wait long. The lights dimmed.

The first ten seconds of opener ‘Truth Will Out’ set the tone for the night; high tempo, loud and in your face. As the song came to an end it bridged neatly into the next, ‘Somebody Told Me’ by the Killers. Four minutes later everyone finally had chance to catch their breath, but it wasn’t too long before the walls were shaking once more as the Velvet Revolver- esque ‘Ring Leader’ rang around the room. At this point I had to confess that I started to get a little nervous. I had glanced down at my copy of the set list and had seen that a cover of ‘20th Century Boy’ was next. The band had been impressive so far but had they destroyed one of my favourite records that would have all gone out of the window. I shouldn’t have worried. I think Marc Bolan would have been proud. Front man and lead guitarist Jordan may not have the great man’s big hair and unique wardrobe but he more than did that killer riff justice. He and the rest of the band were absolutely flying. Another cover followed; and this time bassist Luke took over front man duties for an ear drum destroying version of ‘I Predict A Riot.’
The following four tracks were all Dark Eyes originals, showing once again that they are not just simply a cover band; they are much more than that. There is nothing especially sophisticated about the song writing but it is very very effective. Unnecessary over-elaborate song writing is one of my pet hates I have to admit, so for my money the group have things pretty much spot on. 

The second half of the show followed pretty much the same path as the first, with a great mix of original songs and some well-chosen covers. Special mention here to the cover of the Queen classic ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ which was fronted by keyboard player and backing vocalist Charlotte. Not only did it further highlight the versatility of the group, but I think a female vocal really suits the song, with Charlotte demonstrating this brilliantly.
As the set thundered towards a conclusion the last hour and a half had flown by. We had been treated to a cover of the theme for the T.V show Friends and Greendays’ ‘Basket Case’ (Sung expertly by drummer Jak) but there was time for one more original track, this one titled ‘I Try My Best.’ This was the only track I had previously heard from the band (It can be found on their YouTube channel) so I had a good idea what was coming, but hearing a song live is always a totally different experience. And not for the first time during the night the band didn’t let me down. The song itself is probably the closest the band comes to a single, but that’s not to say that it is dumbed down or light weight, far from it in fact. This was one of many standout moments on the night.

Looking back the main highlights of the night were without question ‘Truth Will Out’, ‘20th Century Boy’, ‘Tracing Tracks’, and the afore mentioned ‘I Try My Best’. With an honourable mention to ‘Me and You’ one of the more melody driven tracks showcased on the night.

As frostbite started to set in on my right foot the band brought down the curtain on the night with a fine rendition of ‘500 Miles’ by The Proclaimers.  Walking 500 miles to see any band is a bit extreme in my book but I will definitely be making the effort to go and see The Dark Eyes in the future and so should you.

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