Well, it was a Friday night in Portsmouth and Kodiak Jack had definitely pulled out some stops. A four band line-up (including Buffalo Clover, visiting from Nashville) meant that there was a pretty varied crowd, and plenty of people milling around and looking cheerful.
First up were the visitors from the US of A, the excellent Buffalo Clover. I bloody loved them – I parted with some of my hard earned wages to buy their CD. Bluesy, ballsy, harmonic and raw all at the same time, this is a band I will definitely be listening out for in the future. Their singer is compelling and massively talented, the band are tight and perform like they’re born to it, and the overall affect is hair-rising. Cracking band, check ‘em out.
Next up were Davy’s Gripp – a generic metal based outfit who’s singer looks like a plumber and sounds like he has the archetypal rawk voice. They were alright, but to be honest, altogether too much of their set was taken up by the guitarist’s 80’s style shredding: my attention definitely waned, and I found myself thinking ‘yes mate, I get it, you can play guitar.’ It was OK, just not brilliant.
Third on the bill were Xenthetix – a metal crew with a bit more about them. They were enthusiastic and had great stage presence, stereotypically shaped black guitars, and the singer has a cracking boom of a voice. I very much enjoyed their screechy, atmospheric echoing sound. Would see them again.
And so we finally came to the main attraction of the night – ol’ KJ themselves. I shan’t lie, I like Kodiak Jack – this is why I signed up to review them. I like their big rock sound, I like their proper riffs and bombastic vocals. I like their big choruses and their cheesy grins as they stand on stage doing what they clearly love. Well, this night was no exception – buoyed along by the fact that it was a Friday night, everyone in the band looked well up for this gig, and seemed to be enjoying the space to roam on a proper stage. The vocals sounded resonant and immense, and all those layers of guitar just hit the ears like liquid rock goodness. And then you get their drummer, who is absolutely bloody brilliant. What’s not to love? In fact, I even went back to the merch stand and achieved myself a T-shirt. That should tell you everything you need to know.