Thursday 17 July 2008

Metro Week: Royal Treatment Plant, Gloria Cycles, The Velcros

Royal Treatment Plant by Julius

I’m in a bad mood.

Having agreed to go and see Battlekat at Punk against my better judgement (nothing against the band, but my calendar is filling up alarmingly), we arrive at the venue at 8.30. Once inside, it is empty and we are told that it will not be open for another hour or so and that Battlekat are not due on until 11.30 – which is gig-speak for “not much before midnight”.

This is completely unacceptable and we leave. I’m very pissed off that this wasn’t advertised better – irrespective of whether this the fault of the promoters or the band. Rather than waste the evening totally, we divert to the Metro nearby.

The Velcros are about halfway through their set. It is fairly straightforward girl fronted indie rock. On this small sample it is hard to tell whether they have promise, but their final number packs a bit of punch and is a good song to finish on. [Subsequent investigation of their Myspace makes me wish I’d got here sooner].

Next up are the awkwardly named Gloria Cycles, who dress in skin tight preppy clothing and are exceptionally chirpy. Singer Kenny McCracken is so full of vim that he is almost bursting out of his green checked shirt. He has a strong Scottish voice and an air of such jauntiness that he can barely be contained. This contrasts with bassist Jen Dalby, who is so restricted in her stage clothes that it a wonder she can play at all.

McCracken’s bright enthusiasm eventually wears you out – any individual Gloria Cycles song is fun in a bouncy, Young Knives kind of way, but the relentless upbeat jauntiness has diminishing returns over the space of their whole performance. An occasional change in tempo might pay dividends.

Royal Treatment Plant (another unfortunate name) are a much more interesting proposition. Right from the start it is clear that their songs are more complex than is usual, often veering from an almost proggy keyboard twiddling to guitar thrash. You are never quite sure where a tune is going to end up, but the journey is enjoyable.

The focal point around which the band revolves is singer guitarist PP, who can wield a mean axe and boss a stage. She is an accomplished front woman and the only problem that she has is an occasionally weak voice. You get the feeling that the band are aware of this, and often double up with harmonies from jovial bassist DJ, who seems to be between different hairstyles this evening and looks…um…distinctive.

New album “Hope Is Not Enough” gets a good airing, the track “Undercurrent” particularly standing out. I suspect they are going to get used to lazy comparisons with the band Metric. Well, here’s another one.

RTP have obviously practiced their stage moves and quite often amuse themselves with synchronised jumping or mock guitar duels. It all makes for a rousing show and they go down well with the audience. They are pretty good, all in all, and I shall investigate them further.

I leave feeling more chipper than when I walked in. The Treatment works.

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