Thursday, 10 March 2011

Gig Review - Mausi @ Newcastle Cluny, 3/3/11

Photo courtesy of Jazzy Lemon - thanks!
Last Thursday saw Newcastle's Mausi take over The Cluny to launch their fantastic debut single 'Follow Me Home', three-minutes of purely distilled melody with a chorus that refuses to leave your head for days. The evening brought together a whole host of up and coming local talents for a wonderful showcase of the best new bands that Newcastle has to offer.

Tomahawks For Targets played an entertaining set featuring tracks from their debut EP The Total Collapse Of It All. Mixing indie, pop, art and funky basslines, they had a strong sound with a decent stage presence. They played with precision and focus, with some great tunes to back up their technical command. There is, however, a catch - these guys sound exactly, and I mean exactly like Everything Everything. From the guitar arrangements, to the sprightly lead vocals and harmonies, and occasional intrusions of electronics, there are extremely overt echoes of Everything Everything in Tomahawks For Targets sound. That's not to detract from their songs or live performance; both were excellent, however at times they were uncomfortably close to sounding too much like another band. Tomahawks For Targets may need to find their own variation upon this style of music to avoid being branded plagiarists and to retain their own identity.

Next up were Boy Jumps Ship, who were treated much better by The Cluny's sound than the poor mix they were subject to supporting Dinosaur Pile-Up at the o2 Academy2 earlier in the week. With a heavy pop-punk sound, they're not particularly my sort of thing, but for what it was, it was an energetic, passionate performance full of crunching guitars and gang vocals, a combination which could see them do well in the future.

But, of course, the band everyone came to see was Mausi, who proved that they have tons more impressive tunes in them yet. Opener 'Racecar', with its pounding drums, tight bassline and euphoric 'whoa's sounded brilliant, with female vocalist Daisy Finetto's voice proving particularly strong on stage. 'Follow Me Home' B-side 'Kiss So Slow' also sounded huge live, with a massive chorus which seemed to come from nowhere. It was a lively performance, with excellent drumming, spot-on vocals and a surprisingly full sound that made the single and EP tracks more vibrant than ever.

The decision to include a cover in the set was a well-judged one - Rihanna's 'What's My Name' brought rapturous cheers from the packed-out crowd, and ensured that the atmosphere reflected the event; this was a party and a celebration just as much as it was a gig. As reflected by 'Follow Me Home', there's an almost effortless catchiness to Mausi's music - in a live setting the energy and enthusiasm of the songs was remarkable. It was almost impossible not to move to them.

'Follow Me Home' inevitably closed the set, and it sounded even better live. A slice of summery power-pop in the vein of Phoenix and Sky Larkin (as covered in our Introducing... Mausi feature), the heart-pounding drums came to the fore onstage, and the chorus sounded even more intensely high-spirited than on record. It was a triumphant set-closer which certainly merited the calls for an encore which Mausi duly obliged.

Overall it was a fantastic evening which furthered the impression that Newcastle still has a local music scene to be reckoned with, and left audiences hungry for more Mausi releases in the future. If there was only one criticism of their set, it's that at only eight tracks, the audience was left wanting more, which, let's face it, isn't really a criticism at all.

Mausi's debut single 'Follow Me Home' is out now. Buy a physical copy on CD here, and find it on Spotify here.

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