Review: Simon Pinion
WITH a new single generating some decent air-play, and their
latest album receiving widespread acclaim, South delivered a blistering
reminder of their over-looked talents at a packed Islington Academy
on Wednesday night (April 7, 2004).
It had been some time since they last took the capital by storm,
at 93 Feet East last July, but with contract wrangles behind them,
the time could just be right to propel Joel Cadbury and co into
As ever, they provided a tight, enjoyable set, the majority of
which took in tracks from the new album, With
The Tides, as well as some choice reminders from their Mowax-produced
debut, and, of course, their favourite cover version of Ian Browns
Dolphins Were Monkeys remix.
Throughout, the drums and guitars of Brett Shaw and Jamie McDonald
remained as explosive as ever, perfectly complimenting Cadburys
laidback vocal style, without ever drowning it out.
Musically, the band is exceptional, with all three members capable
of mixing things up a little, and perfectly comfortable with swapping
And it is the rich variety of drum beats, guitar riffs and sweeping
melodies that prompted one recent critic to label them as
the only British band not currently trying to emulate Coldplay.
In current single, Colours in Waves, they hint at it (thanks
to the simplistic guitar hooks), but South are fast becoming the
masters of the hopelessly catchy, yet equally intelligent, three-minute
indie-pop record that has been the meal ticket to success for
so many lesser bands.
Take Loosen Your Hold, for example, which was released
last year, and featured some sublime banjo. I have yet to see
it performed live with that instrument, yet the guitars which
replaced it were equally as formidable.
Fragile Day is another terrific record, which provided
one of the nights many highlights, having benefited from
the production know-how of Dave Eringa (of Idlewild and Ash fame).
While that newfound confidence and maturity was aptly demonstrated
during Straight Lines to Bad Lands, which was performed,
post-encore, by Joel by himself, with only an acoustic guitar.
The band is more compact and more confident now, having matured
dramatically through the ups and downs of their difficult Mowax
departure, and the uncertainty of subsequent record labels.
The sweaty confines of the Islington Academy may have provided
an ideal showcase for the rich layers their music produces, but
you get the feeling - from the buzz surrounding them, and the
diehard support - that they may be graduating to bigger venues
in the very near future.
We would urge you to catch them when theyre in town again.