Meet Me In Vegas

The directions The Dharma might take More

Live Review

Written By Michael Wood Monday, February 9th, 2009

Meet Me In Vegas, Sound of Guns and The Dharma at The Cockpit, Leeds

The Dharma are not a bad band but they are a pub band and I mean that in the nicest possible way.

First some Meet Me In Vegas who are initially three lads in smart ties and shirts thudding effectively through an introduction that gives way to a set of songs voiced by their slightly Jazzy sounding lead singer who joins them. Singer Caroline Carfrae provides the glamour to but the real star of the show is Chris Dabass's bass guitar which pounds a line of vintage New Order matched perfectly with Josh Toulmin suitably Morris-esque drums. These Spartan elements - albeit not the technically impressive noodling of Guitarist Seb Santabarbara - promise a direction for this band.

A direction - or rather a direction which promises uniqueness - is harder to see for Liverpool's Sound of Guns who have a great front man in Andy Metcalfe but seem to be too easily defined in music maths - Oasis plus Arctic Monkeys over the Stones to the power of Julian Cope - and the band are charged with doing what they do very well but lacking that individuality which could make them stand out from the crowded crowd they are in.

The Dharma take to the stage amid an attack of strobe lighting and power through the sort of chords Bon Jovi would shamelessly play.  They demand attention and for their honest play - if married to slightly gimmicky presentation - and they receiving it. Paul Holihan milks the crowd effectively and bassist and backing JB Butler provides a good counterpoint.

They play a heady mix of standards and original material and they play it well as a band hardened by an unforgiving circuit of pubs and clubs who have conquered those arenas would and are enjoying the lofty heights of The Cockpit.

Where they, or any of tonight's bands, can go from there and how they would get there is more interesting.