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Friday, 14 December 2012

Shelf:Life - Nice and Sleazy - 13/12/12 (Glasgow)

The launch party seems to be the current 'must have' for every band treading the boards these days.
The latest that I attended was for self proclaimed post grunge act Shelf:Life in Nice and Sleazy - more about that post grunge tag later - who were looking to promote their debut ep.
First there was the supports to get out of the way though, and while both UrbanMyth and The Aviators feature talented members they seemed to be at a level that falls short of playing for a paying audience.
There's a quality bar that has to be attained and that doesn't just mean that the musicianship is up to scratch, but that the band has a clear direction that they are all pulling in.
Neither Urban Myth or The Aviators are there yet.
At the moment Urban Myth look, and sound like, a class project with five random people being grouped together and told to form a band.
It's all a bit haphazard.
There's no faulting the talent that they individually have, but they could all fit more comfortably in other bands rather than in this one together.
The Aviators have half a set of songs and bolstered it with covers.
A very good 'My Generation', a very poor 'Last Night' that lacked all the laissez faire fuck you of the original, and a passable 'Come Together'.
Highlight was when they swapped the vocal lead for an original song called 'Tell Me' that hinted at a sound that they could all use as a template to work forward from.
All together a disappointing beginning to a night.

Thankfully Shelf:Life were pretty much everything that the supports weren't.
The post grunge description may have been apt at a point in the past, but they have left it far behind them as a genre box that could hold them.
There's still hints of it, and even some post US hardcore sounds, but there's also a great deal of little aural snippets from multiple genres that they have dipped into and grabbed bits and bobs from to create the Shelf:Life sound.
At one point there was some Futureheads kitchen sink acapella harmonies that they borrowed from The Housemartins making an appearance, but even then its a blink and you will miss it blast of just one little touch in among many more.
In fact it's all pretty much a downhill sans brakes performance with the whole band pushing hard at delivering a show that can't be ignored, or even dismissed as just another indie rock band doing their thing on a Thursday night.
There's an aspect of them that reminded me of Biffy Clyro.
Not in sound, but in that you could see and hear that they could move up the ladder quickly, and possible even bypass those who are currently considered to be the ones to watch out for.
It doesn't take a great deal of imagination to jump to thinking that they would be entirely comfortable in stalking the SECC stage, or possibly making a main stage festival appearance.
Hopefully by early 2013 their name will deservedly start to fall from the lips of some movers and shakers as the next step for them is to spread the word.
Everything else is pretty much in place.
Definitely a headlining band in waiting that I would comfortably recommend to everyone to check out.


  1. UrbandMyth and Aviators failure to draw in a crowd was there downfall. Last Halloween I was at the Classic Grand(upstairs) and it was pretty busy. The crowd were really loving the Aviators stuff. A night at which they headlined.
    Shelf:life played an amazing set! However, I wish people would stop comparing bands to Biffy!

  2. Maybe if Scotland could provide another band that emulates Biffy's success then we could draw comparisons to them, but until that day comes I guess it's slim pickings in the comparison stakes.

  3. You sound like a shelf life fanboy, seen the aviators before and they were fantastic. You need to remember that critics are only giving their own opinion on the sound and that every single person alive can do this automatically, and until your in a band people care about, your thoughts are useless and a waste of time

  4. I don't often up anonymous comments, but I'll let this one pass as it highlights a certain attitude I see often.
    That attitude being that the anonymous posters often feel that their 'opinion' carries more weight than the one promoted in the review.
    1) Prior to the gig in N&S I had never seen Shelf:Life. I'm not employed by them to write a favourable review, and if I hadn't been impressed with them I would have said so.
    2) I didn't rubbish the Aviators. Instead I simply pointed out that in my opinion they have a bit to go before playing publicly to paying punters.
    Their set was top heavy with covers, and as this wasn't a tribute night I would have preferred to have heard more original songs from them.
    Out of the original material they did play I considered one to be quite promising and even an indicator that given a few months of writing material and practicing a live set they could well blossom into an entertaining band.
    3) I am fully aware that a critic is just someone expressing an opinion - but thanks for highlighting that - and that everyone can do that.
    Nowhere does it say that what I thought of the acts who played should carry more weight than the opinions of anyone else.
    That's simply something that you have plucked out of thin air.
    4)The bit about 'your thoughts are useless and a waste of time' are arrogantly infantile.
    I actually consider your opinion to be as valuable as my own.
    We are all entitled to express what we think, and as you can see from my accepting yours and posting it publicly I don't have a problem with you airing yours.
    It's a shame that that courtesy doesn't appear to be offered from you to others who would maybe disagree with your views.

  5. If you didnt like the bands you should keep your comments to yourself.

  6. ...and if YOU didn't like the review you could have kept your opinion to yourself.
    Do you see the logic fail there?
    Not that I really think that.
    Everyone is entitled to their opinion.

  7. The Aviators were the best band of the night.
    Anyone with an understanding of what it takes to do what they do would know that.

  8. Coming in hard and fast now.

    So is that a fact expressed or an opinion?
    I'm pretty sure I know the difference, but I'm less sure that you do.
    How about we draw a line under this before you make even more of a fool of yourself.

    I thought the supports were both young bands that featured talented young musicians, but equally I consider that they have a bit to go before they start playing live to paying punters.
    That's really it in a nutshell.
    You disagree and that's fine.