Fiverfest is a band competition being held at The Junction in Cambridge, so it's a fantastic chance to check out a series of bands for £5.00. This doesn't explain why things were quite so quiet at the start of the night, as swapping a pint and a half for the chance of seeing the next Gods of Rock before they even get signed (or just a series of decent, up for it, acts giving it a shot) is just too spectacular to miss out on. Still folks didn't come in a huge number or variety (it was mostly the '18' to 25 scene), so others bad choices meant I got a better view of something far more enjoyable than X-Factor.
First up was Ambury Night, who played a sweaty version of tribal blues rock that I really quite liked. Their bassist had all the stage moves and their drummer was playing the 'hit everything all the time' game with great aplomb, which provided an excellent backline for their guitarist to noodle away to his hearts content and their singer to give their rather nice songs a faux-Americana belting that reminded me of Ian Astbury. All in all a great showing with a range of tunes & sounds on show, thought I would encourage their singer to try and sing more towards the audience than to his band mates.
Lost Lungs followed, and whilst they played a nice line in indie rock that had moments of Catatonia and 90's radio friendly goodness that would be great for a Summer drive to something exciting with friends they were a bit hit-and-miss for me (in that I liked songs 2, 4, and 6 but songs 1, 3, and 5 left me cold). Their last track was especially impressive, sounding like they were trying to drown me in velvet, and their stage presence was good, but beyond that it just wasn't connecting. Also their drummer was wearing a done-up tie, which will always be a major 'NO' for me as it means they aren't trying hard enough.
Fenrir exploded from the off, bringing a massive injection of positive post-hardcore energy, along with a tempo that perked up the audience and got the first motion going up at the front. They even got a singalong going and win the prize for smothist album plugs of the night. It had me bouncing along and was a nicely polished performance without too much flash or bluster. Just solid sounds and lots of pop hope with breakdowns at just the right points that I would like to check out more of.
This all left a tough one for Forever After to follow, which they didn't really achieve with their Foo Fighters mark 2 offering and the amazing line of "This one's about your girlfriend leaving you and its all emotional" which drew an audible snickering from my side of the audience. None of it was bad, as they could clearly play and were perfectly skilled craftsman (including their bassist who appeared to have recently scored some incredibly powerful E as he spent the whole time smiling like a loon). It's just that none of it was half as exciting as they thought it was or especially new/interesting.
And then finally, for me anyway as I had to nip off before the 11th hour additional 6th act, was The Abstracts. who brought along an Indie-Meets-New Wave sound that mixed The James, The Cars, and a touch of Elvis Costello with just enough Libertines to be distinctly English without needing a punch. It was highly emotive with clear Brit-Pop sensibilities, but nothing too overboard or pretentious (although their singer is quite possibly from another planet given his hyper-kinetic motions and ability to walk on stage dry to then be drenched in sweat before the start of the first track). No fancy stage work, but a good connection with the audience.
So was it worth it? Yes, very much so and especially at the price. I'm aware that events like this have a terrible reputation but for the price you can't complain and none of the acts were especially bad or a waste of time. The next one is on Saturday the 1th of November and I would encourage more people to go to it.