Warm up parties for festivals seem to be all the rage at the moment – I went to the Bloom Festival one at Koko a few years back and it was huge amounts of fun (unfortunately the festival went under after that though…) I assume the purpose of these events is to raise awareness of the festival, and give people a bit of an idea of the sort of bands they’ll be seeing should they go. I would also assume, however, that this works best when the event is well attended which, sadly, this wasn’t. Tom Ravenscroft was DJing before and between the bands, with a great party set that should by all rights have got people dancing (especially to the Jungle Book – I mean come on!) and probably would have done had the venue been busier. Nevertheless, the room was filling up, and by the time Mothlite took to the stage, the crowd was a fairly respectable size. Mothlite seemed to be going a bit British Sea Power with their set – with the keyboard and mic stands draped in foliage (although I believe it was fake). Their opener was very atmospheric, with noisy, heavy keyboard chords, vocal sounds rather than lyrics, and lots of feedback and distortion. I liked it. When the beat kicked in though, the sound because a bit more ‘normal’. They kept the same sustained keyboard sounds, lost some of the distortion and all of the feedback, and started playing songs. It wasn’t quite as inventive, but it was still good to listen to. Halfway through the second song, the singer very slowly, very sensually removed his hoodie and let it fall to the floor but, as he failed to follow up with any other items of clothing, I believe this was simply due to the temperature and striptease wasn’t an aspect of their act. The set was quite ambient, but loud and bass-driven at the same time, the drummer keeping things interesting by playing deliberately off-beat during some of the quieter passages. The singer was powerful without being shouty, which was quite an achievement given the volume of the music. They were well received by the crowd, but didn’t manage to tempt any of them to dance – everyone stuck firmly to their safe positions at the back of the room (a pet peeve of mine, actually). It would have been nice to see people moving. Setlist: Seeing In The Dark Evil April The Blood The Underneath Disappear Zebras Dark Age Clock Opera have bounded on to the scene very recently by remixing a Marina and The Diamonds song – something which seems to have gained them instant fame, which after hearing them play I believe to be a good thing. The singer started off by ask the crowd to come closer to the stage, and people obliged, giving the set a much better atmosphere. Clock Opera have a very electronic sound, which is up-beat without being poppy. They started with some very ambient synth-sounds, before the drums kicked in and the set got definitely danceable. Their drummer seemed to have attended the same ‘emphasise-different-beats-to-keep-them-guessing’ college as Mothlite’s, which was no bad thing, and everyone except the bassist used drumsticks at one time another – either on drums (obviously), on synth pads or on random percussion. Definitely looking forward to seeing more of these guys. Setlist: White Noise Manmade Alouette Once and For All A Piece Of String Lesson # 7 By the time North Atlantic Oscillation came on, the venue was much quieter again, which was a great shame. They were fun to listen to, but ultimately played relatively generic indie-pop, which didn’t really break any boundaries. They did have some cool projections on the backdrop though. Their final song reminded me a bit of South (go forth and listen to South, please. Especially ‘With The Tides’) with melodic vocal lines, and some sort of electronic casiotone lookalike that somehow sounded like a genuine upright piano. I was really enjoying it, when suddenly, out of nowhere, there was a massive drum entry which – as it didn’t change the tempo at all – slightly ruined the song for me. I did enjoy NAO, and I wouldn’t object to seeing them again, but I’m not sure they really gelled too well with the other two bands, or were sufficiently better enough to justify top billing tonight. Setlist: Cell Count Hollywood Has Ended Ceiling Poem 77 Hours Ritual Filthy Dukes were supposed to be DJing from 11-1, but sadly within 5 minutes of the final band finishing, there were only two of us in the room. The music wound up at 11.40 and we headed home. I didn’t feel that the night had entirely lived up to its potential, but as far as getting people excited about Standon Calling goes, it gets a definite +1 from me. What say you on this? Sound off in our Fourum!