Zico Chain/To The Bones – Live

Moho Live, Manchester 24/01/10
By Chris Oliver

Although I’ve already seen three bands (all of whom failed to introduce themselves), the most interesting part of the evening so far has been finding out that my girlfriend ties her shoelaces differently than I do.

I’m hoping to be rescued by To The Bones, and they up the game from the off by actually telling us who they are. The first song begins with a rather pleasing cacophony of distortion and drums, and I’m enjoying it right up to the moment the vocalist opens his mouth, and a stream of incomprehensible toss comes out.

To be fair to him, he can really scream – which goes a long way when you play rock this hard – but it would be nice to be able to make out more lyrics from the first two songs than just ‘kiss, kiss, kiss my rock and roll!’. It’s not a massive loss to the music world though, as there’s nothing here we haven’t heard before. I would probably have been more disappointed if the bands before them hadn’t been so utterly dire.

Zico Chain spend an excessively long time setting up, which gives me time to question the logic behind a headline band starting at 11 o’clock on a Sunday. By the time they start, the audience has dwindled to half its former size. It’s just about worth the wait. 

They manage to be more interesting within the first two minutes of their set than everything else that has preceded them. Ingenious use of a stand allows the enviably attractive lead surfer – sorry, singer – to switch from acoustic guitar to his usual instrument (bass) mid-song. He has a strong voice which reminds me of Live’s Ed Kowalczyk or even Brandon Boyd of Incubus, but nothing even vaguely English. 

They band have an impressively full sound for a 3-piece, although the vocal harmonies leave something to be desired. There’s no virtuoso playing but doesn’t need to be, what with all that rocking and stuff. It all gets a little over the top for my more moderate tastes, but it’s very well executed. There are hints of System Of A Down here, lots of changes of dynamic, smatterings of solo bass playing and spacey guitar noise, making a refreshing change to the rather one-level offerings which came earlier in the evening.

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