Leah Hamer || February 25th
Kicking off Shakedown's evening at The Exchange, were Divenire, who may appear young, yet they are beyond the skill capacities of most their age. Special attention needs to be paid to the quiet lead guitarist, Josh Holmes, who plays humbly and adeptly. Their style is a cheerful, light-hearted indie, revolving around that old tale of love and heartbreak- ample writing material for collecting fans. Dom Morgan is a well-spoken and confident frontman who can make light of any situation- including some issues with a dead tuner. Divenire are currently living a comfortable existence- now they are settled into 2017, it is time for them to experiment and grow.
Second up for the evening was China Tanks, a mixing pot of heavy rock drum beats, high-pitched squealing guitars and gruff, sinister vocals. Repetitive and drawn out psychedelic effects come from the use of the flanger pedal. They certainly know how the make the most out of their pedal boards, that’s for sure, if you had closed your eyes you would have expected to see another four members on stage. Their strength is in their speed and their sick guitar solos- I don’t believe a single member was immobile for even half a second, but they need to define their melodies and magnify their choruses more in order to create contrasts between each track.
The penultimate act was the hot topic of The Exchange last night, the newly named King Kula (formerly Lost Soul Experiment). Their debut arsenal included a ruby Gretsch, a Gibson Firebird, and a borrowed bass. And with these weapons in tow, they were, quite frankly, immense. They created alien sounds with their tingling reverbs and Jordan Gifford’s vocal effects, producing the same imaginative quality that they do in the studio. Their glory is in the riffs. After what you believe to be a pretty solid chorus, they triumph with the aftermath of spangling, distorted notes- sparking flames from their fingers. Pitchfork, Strange Love, Rogues- strong, stronger, strongest- these songs are bound for greatness.
Headliners, Fake War, had a bumpy start- a fault with the microphone left them filling the time with improvised riffs. Then came the welcomed sound of, ‘One, two’, from Mark Askew on the mic, greeted by a roar of ‘wahey’, from Fake War’s loyal, patient crowd. The three-piece are intense musicians, concentration is evident in their brow and their passion is obvious in their playing. Simple structuring makes them sound like a calmer version of The Enemy at times, but this is made far more interesting by frontman Will Abercrombie’s dark, menacing vocals- reminiscent of Interpol’s Paul Banks. Defiant, political lyrics engaged the audience and left everyone with a raring inner buzz to go out and tackle the world head on.