Review: Twisted Wheel + The Assist + Thieves @ The Sunflower Lounge – 12/12/2013

Ahh that ever-present genre, ‘indie rock’. An incredibly awkward silence, lasting what can only be described as over a minute, is punctuated by an unnecessarily audible burp from the waiting crowd before the Manchester quartet finally burst into a tune which is, at best, reminiscent of early Courteeners and at worst another of many to add to the ever-growing list of ‘lad’ bands. They’re undeniably powerful – they can play a tune, and they have an impressive following who don’t deter from chanting “wheel, wheel” into the gaps the entire way through. However any real form of audience interaction is sorely lacking and regardless of any number of notable support slots they may have blagged, musically, Twisted Wheel sure ain’t anything new.

Which is a shame because prior to them taking the stage, Walsall four-piece The Assist show the beginnings of an attempt at something at least a little different. Some songs disposable and bleeding into each other indiscriminately, a couple show an intuitive exploration of differing timings and there are hooks aplenty to grab hold of. Similarly, Thieves play an impressive slot, though to only a handful of people. The first live performance since the departure of their frontman, the new four-piece lineup is visibly finding its feet as lead singer Jake Goodman comes to terms with taking over centre stage.  However, with impressively powerful percussion and a brooding bassline working underneath some, at times, experimental guitars, there’s a definite room to manoeuvre for these boys.

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