Live Review: The Grafham Water Sailing Club @ Alfie Birds, Birmingham – 14/11/2014

Seeing The Grafham Water Sailing Club live is always a unique experience and one that can be hit and miss.

Here in Alfie Bird’s Loft, the show unfortunately falls into the latter category. This is neither the fault of the venue nor the band (who are as tight and electric as ever), but the rather the marrying of the two.

The Loft is about as intimate as venues get – a show here is probably as close to seeing your favourite band in your living room as they come. But The Grafham Water Sailing Club are not necessarily a band who lend themselves to that dynamic.

The performance is still fantastic. Aggressive yet technical drumming supported by equally insistent basslines, which underpin the swirling guitars and synth. Theirs is a sound which owes as much to post-punk as it does to bands like LCD Soundsystem.

But tonight is a great example of the importance of the pairing of band and venue because despite the talent on display, they struggle to draw the audience in. Songs like Feelin’ Blue and the more recent Nettle Hill are full of atmosphere, but they aren’t given room to breathe and so fall a little flat.

What tonight highlights is that The Grafham Water Sailing Club’s sound and set-up both benefit from a bit of distance from the audience both physically and mentally. That’s what makes the difference between their ability to deliver a satisfactory performance and something more impressive.

Words: Matthew Burdon

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