Caffeine – Leeds Josephs Well

By paul

Caffeine + Mesh 29 (+ Stick My Army)
Josephs Well, Leeds

Josephs Well is dead tonight, so much so that I thought I?d got the wrong day. In
listening to Caffeine I presumed they would have attracted a healthy sized crowd due to their mainstream Pop/Punk style and catchy tracks, yet there can?t be more than 30 people here. The band blame it on a lack of publicity and remain optimistic, claiming that it?s a good thing as their new drummer Nick has just flown in from Hollywood. Not only will this be his first show with the band, but it will pretty much be their rehearsal too!

Starting the evening off, a trio of male teens aptly named ?Stick My Army? provided a chaotic blend of Ska/Punk that sounded somewhat messy and unrehearsed at best. They have moments where you think that it could get better, but doesn?t quite. Curiously enough the drummer is the lead vocalist as well. As vaguely impressive as this is, the band still desperately need an alternative frontman for vocals with a greater range that can cope better with the songs. Maybe then the guitarist and bassist would stop huddling around the drummer with their backs to the audience. (3)

Peterborough?s ?Mesh 29? were pleasantly surprising. The vocals were beautifully melodic and the keyboard and acoustic guitar worked perfectly. Their acoustic Pop/Rock ballads, such as ?5am?, are worthy of the O.C and definitely bigger venues/crowds than tonights. At times their sound is similar to that of The Goo Goo Dolls. Debut single ?Over the Barricades? is beautiful, polished and well rehearsed. Considering the turn out it receives a genuine and impressive round of applause. Final surprise for the audience was a solo from the keyboardist. Despite him apparently not knowing he was going to be asked to perform it, combined with him not being the lead vocalist, he does fantastically. On announcement of last song ?Cigarette?, their vocalist takes his chance to plug their friends, ?Enjoy Caffeine. They?re an awesome band?. The song successfully gets a handful of people dancing along, which is an impressive result tonight. (7)

Caffeine break into catchy favourite ?She?s a Knockout?, drawing everyone back into the hall for some quality fun. This is Pop/Punk at its best and minus the cheesy vocals. Instead, these are replaced with Scott McEwan?s London accent, which gives them a more original sound and exciting edge. Song ?Dancefloor? goes down fantastically and has a Ska-type intro that gets people skanking before the disco beats kick in. Quality guitaring, and drumming so ferocious new drummer Nick manages to break through the skin on the snare (which had to be swiftly replaced). At announcement of ?This is a dance song!? from vocalist/bassist Scott they perform a seriously cool rendition of ?You Spin Me Round?? which turns out to be the greatest highlight of the evening, complete with backing vocals from guitarist J, which complement Scott?s perfectly. ?Hotel Room? was the only anti-climax as? well, like a friend of Scott?s once joked ?Great song, but kinda makes you wanna die!?. It?s a great song, but when all of the other songs have been so upbeat, it isn?t received as well as it deserves to be. Caffeine end on ?The Lights go Down? and exit the stage one by one in style. A fantastic finish to an uncertain evening. Catch them while you can. (8)