Shuriken – Norwich Waterfront

By Andy

(This gig took place at the Norwich Arts Centre)

The show tonight was put on by as a launch event for their new compilation, ‘Skyboys vs Highscalers’ and it brought together three promising unsigned UK bands. First up were SULA, local heroes from Norwich playing a blend of melodic rock that veered closest to Incubus and Tool at times. They were very tight and musically sound – the musicianship of the group was not in doubt. The trouble is, they just didn’t seem to kick off and always seemed on the verge of something massive. Most of the songs sounded alike and matters were hardly helped by the fact that the vocals were far too low in the mix to make a significant impact as I’d have expected a band such as this to do. Blandness set in eventually as the lack of variety slowly began to grate. (6)

Next up were ODD MAN OUT, a band who I was reliably informed were ‘the shit’. The description was startling innaccurate – they had to be one of the most frustrating bands I’ve ever seen. Opening with a burst of sheer energy they came across like Boy Sets Fire on speed with a superb ear for a melodic guitar riff, and the interplay between the two guitars was impressive. However, and most annoyingly, they took all their good ideas and strangled them to death by repeating them over and over, disappearing into a haze of screamed lyrics and squealing feedback. They really do have a lot of potential but on the evidence of this performance, definitely need to rework some of their songs so as not to come across as boring. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying long, drawn out music is necessarily bad, only when it’s repetitive to the point of pain. (5)

I prayed for something to justify my bus fare. I got it, in the form of the fantastic SHURIKEN. Apparently they’re well known in Kerrang and have recently toured with Farse and this outfit showed their experience in a stunning way. Right from the beginning they played with a passion and verve that was reminiscent of early Get Up Kids and Bouncing Souls, ripping out killer riff after killer riff to great effect. They won the crowd over eventually (it wasn’t that full) with a cover of Livin’ La Vida Loca and maintained the pace by showing the other bands what a chorus is. Special mention must go to the lead guitarist for the sheer catharsis of the final song – writhing around like a bleeding badger while mauling seven shades of shit out of his guitar made for a gripping, visceral finale that summed up the rest of their performance. (8)