What do you do when you find an unused function room above a pub? Well, if you’re in a band you ask the landlord if you can hold a gig there, which is exactly what Third Lung did. Luckily the answer was yes! What better way for Runnin’ Blue Promotions (RBP) to celebrate their fiftieth event than with Third Lung who was their first promotional event, presented with Marquee Records to celebrate their new signings. Even better when you get to play with friends in two other bands, also newly signed Louis and the Shakes plus Who Ate All The Crayons.
It seems that it wasn’t only RBP who thought it was a good idea as this event sold out! That’s over a hundred tickets to locals in the Reading area. Not bad for grassroots music on a Saturday night.
Having seen the two support bands at Wokingham Festival on August bank holiday, I was more than keen to see and hear them again. Third Lung had also performed at the same festival the previous year.
Opening proceedings for this celebration was Who Ate All The Crayons (WAATC), a four-piece, Newbury based folk-rock band. Having assured them that we were ready to rock, they played a selection of songs from their EP (Deep Blue) released this year, as well as some newer tracks. WAATC took us through a wide variety of tempos and feelings, demonstrating the talent in this young band. Songs like Take Me Away is slow and haunting, beautifully sung and played. Other songs included Crown which starts very soulfully then builds up to a tempo changing crescendo that leaves you pleased you were able to join them for the musical ride. The passion from the singer-guitarist renders you absorbed in the moment with him. Thirty minutes later WAATC were announcing their last two songs, and after playing one of them an audience member called for ‘one more song’, to which the reply came ‘we did say we were playing two more’. This received a ripple of laughter and WAATC went on to play their ‘encore’ Supper, another beautifully delivered song full of passion which kept the audience engaged up to the last note. For the record, nobody knows who ate the crayons!
The band filling the middle slot tonight was Louis and The Shakes (LATS), another four-piece band but from a little further afield. Having assured them that we were ready to rock again, the energy in the room exploded as LATS delivered forty minutes of excellent indie-rock. Their album (released on a previous record label) gave the band a wide selection of songs to choose from, including On One and Snakes Hips that kept the audience dancing and clapping along. New singles this year (with Marquee) include sorry.x and the latest release Blackout 9.0 (I don’t know what happened to the other 8) came with a warning that “all that glitters isn’t gold” but the music was pure perfection. They also performed a cover of Edwyn Collins’ A Girl Like You which went down well with the audience, and were even brave enough to do a mash-up of the Rolling Stones Miss You with one of their own. For the last track Louis sang without playing his guitar, made the audience crouch down, then jump up at the requested moment. Not original, but still fun to watch the audience participation. All the tracks were great to dance and clap along to. The energy was high for their whole performance, and clearly enjoyed by everyone there.
The final and headline act to round off tonight was Third Lung, another four-piece band, this time back to Berkshire and very locally from Reading. More of a classic rock sound and riding high on the release of their album Game Play last year. Third Lung are a band getting attention at the moment, and you can hear why when you’re at one of their gigs. There is a wide and varied repertoire, from previous singles Lo-Hi with its slow melody and variations in intensity, to the more upbeat finale with No Names, showing the range within the band. Their latest single is the slowest, most haunting cover of AC/DC’s Long Way to the Top that I’ve heard, and it was differently beautiful. Tom (singer-guitarist) didn’t need to worry about his voice holding out on those high notes, it was wonderful. Camilla was often just lost in her guitar playing, as so totally immersed with her music. The joy in the band was infectious which transferred to their playing tonight, and probably the best I’ve heard them so far. The whole band was just on an adrenaline high all evening, and the audience was enjoying the party with them.
This event was meant to be a celebration of so many things, and it certainly fulfilled that. I’m sure the people talking also had a good time, even though the rest of us would’ve preferred it if they’d talked downstairs at the bar. (Mentioning it here in the hope the message starts getting through to people – no chatting during gigs please!).
A superb night of live music with three very different bands, all within ten miles of home. You never know what’s on your doorstep until you start looking and listening for what’s on around you. No stress of going to/from London [insert name of your nearest town/city] and we’re supporting hopefully the ‘bands of tomorrow’. Keeping music live starts in your hometown.