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Throughout January, The Fleece are hosting local band showcase nights, promoting talent from across the region. First up were Bristol rockers Hello Lazarus, whose style is clearly influenced by Cedric Bixler-Zavala (At The Drive In/The Mars Volta) and other post-hardcore punk groups, with their high-energy sound and sweeping lead-vocal. What they lack however, is a sense of cohesion. As a three-piece, it seems as if they perhaps have taken too much on their shoulders, specifically in the case of frontman Taylor (guitar/vocals). While commendable in the sound that he manages to create, you can’t help feeling a second guitar would have helped. When the music broke down however, a post-rock tendency appeared very astute and sharp, but all too soon the sloppy, almost forced overdrive and vocals spoiled what otherwise could have been a promising opening to the evening. Where a sense of structure was missing in Hello Lazarus, second band Kill Cassidy gave an extremely assured and polished performance – amazing for a band formed only 18 months ago. Recently signed to Bristol’s Sugar Shack Records, Kill Cassidy exude the confidence of band comfortable in their own skin. Appearing very much a big band on a small stage, it seemed that their haunting music and evocative lyrics, particularly notable in 14.11, was wasted on a half-filled room. Rather disappointingly, vocalist Tim Sensation was forced to coax the crowd forward at one point, interrupting his wonderfully falsetto delivery and coquettish strut. Surely that won’t be necessary for too long, as going on this performance, space at Kill Cassidy gig will be a rare commodity. Hound had the daunting task of taking to the stage next, with their experimental alt-rock. Regrettably one couldn’t escape the feeling that we were watching a Battle of the Bands unfold within Hound themselves. At times, they were good. With a few promising hooks in the vein of an early Muse and occasional vocals reminiscent of Thom Yorke, they really could have developed, but never really delivered. Perhaps this was due to being over-shadowed by a band in Kill Cassidy that knows exactly where they stand musically, but mainly due to the inconsistent flirting with one too many a musical genre. Blowing away the cobwebs, final band Archimedes really upped the game. Inspiring spontaneous shoe-gazing, the foursome’s Foals drenched indie rock was as impressive as it was loud. Noah Villenueve’s off-kilter vocals backed by rousing guitars and energetic percussion, evoked similarities with bands such as White Lies and managed to draw the disparate crowd from all corners of the venue. Their math-rock sensibility was uplifting, perfectly orchestrated and a fitting climax to the evening. If The Fleece can maintain such a level of quality then the local talent showcases will fast become a requisite in every new music lover’s diary.

Words: Annie Scott & Matthew Tickner