Review by Simon Pinion
Electric Soft Parade - Dingwalls, November 26, 2002
HAVING seen, and thoroughly enjoyed, The Electric Soft Parade (ESP) twice before (both times in support slots), the thought of seeing them headline a great small venue seemed like a sure bet.
The fact that the gig was also in aid of Dyslexia Awareness made it even more appealing, as charity shows are often special, unique and heartfelt.
With high expectations, I really wasn't expecting to be disappointed. And with a £10 (plus booking fee) price tag, I thought the night would be a professionally put together evening.
I'd even booked three tickets on credit card, to be collected at the door, but was only given one ticket for the three of us, as they had run out of tickets! Not a good start.
The support came from 'John's Children', a Sixties band which hadn't ever quite made it. The two band members both played guitar and the lack of a drum kit on stage began to make us wonder whether ESP would have one. Sadly, John's Children weren't very impressive. They finished by saying, 'this is our last one, but I bet you want more?' - not exactly!
ESP eventually came on about 10pm and only played about 50 minutes. A drum kit never appeared, which was a great shame, as their drummer was one of the high points of previous times I'd seen them.
Three band members were present, two playing guitar and one on keyboard. But while a couple of their most popular tunes (Same Way Every Day and There's A Silence) sounded OK, the rest of the show was a shambles. They confessed that they hadn't rehearsed - and it showed.
At several stages, they were forced to apologise for having come straight from the studio, and for the lack of budget - meaning that they had been forced to set up themselves.
But even this, they had done badly. The guitars were out of tune, which they realised at one stage by stopping a song to re-tune, while one of the vocalists was way off.
One of them kept complaining that his guitar didn't work, even though the audience was yelling to him that it did - things got that bad.
Through their numerous apologies and excuses, not to mention their whole performance, the audience knew that ESP did not have their hearts in the evening. Perhaps they have let their young fame go to their heads.
But if they carry on with this unprofessional attitude, it won't be long before all their early style and hard work is undone. Charity gigs need more effort - not less.