Armstrong + The Mission District – Live Review

May 3, 2009

Armstrong Promo Shoot

Armstrong Promo Shoot

(Click image for Myspace)

Last Wednesday I sauntered on down to the Dublin Castle to watch Armstrong,  and then (not gonna lie) get a bit drunk, and then watch the Mission District. So apologies to the middle two bands (who wont read this anyway!) but I was catching up with people and such during their sets… oops.

Armstrong took to the stage early in the evening for this Rock Sound Magazine party, in front of an intimate crowd predominantly made up of ‘industry’. Unfortunately, Armstrong‘s  explosive set packed full of infectious and anthemic Pop / Rock tracks was at times marred by technical problems and perhaps more so by frontman Tim Talbot‘s ill health (he is currently trying to shrug off a throat and sinus infection!)

Talbot winced through the pain however and his voice held out for such gut-busting sing-along anthems as Scars and Stories and Sirens, displaying his incredible range and one hell of a set of lungs. Meanwhile, the muscular, rip-roaring, fist-in-the-air riffs of tracks like Every End were delivered with the usual vigour by the axe-wielding man mountain Jay Armstrong and screaming shredded solos were whipped up by lead guitar-slinger John Atkins. Meanwhile the meaty rhythm and bass combination of Harry Armstrong and Sam George remained (mostly) tight as ever and at times, I’m sure, the mixture of bass-enormity and George‘s ‘Kick the fuck out of the drum-kit’ attitute must have meant the show registered on the Richter Scale.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen my fair share of Armstrong shows and this wasn’t the best ever, but the combination of illness and technical fault meant that the boys kinda took to the stage having already written off the show… and the result is that they looked more laid back and relaxed than usual. They seemed to enjoy themselves and this rubbed off on an intimate and welcoming crowd, who enjoyed such comedy moments as Talbot losing his mic (had to be there). In short, not technically the best performance from these stadium-worthy Rockers, but still a display of awesome stage presence and showmanship, great tracks, and as always a good laugh.

 

The Mission District Promo Shot

The Mission District Promo Shot

(Click image for Myspace)

Ok so fast forward about an hour, too many free (thankyou Jager-sponsored Armstrong boys!) Jagermeisters, a few Jack Daniels  and you can imagine why my memory of The Mission District may be borderline hazy.

These guys were, on the night, possibly the exact opposite of Armstrong: pure polished and perfect Electro-Pop / Rock.. technically flawless, but at times lacking soul and verve. That said, a five piece band with a lot of equipment on a tiny stage, I think it’s fair to say that perhaps TMD are destined for bigger things and were somewhat confined by their surroundings. Also, having played 25 venues in 30 nights prior to this, it’s understandable that they weren’t going to throw everything into this show in front of about 8 people (thankyou for the promotion, Rock Sound!) So aside from stage presence, this Canadian outfit, consisting of two guitars, bass, vocals, drums, laptop and occasionally synths, and at least 1 backing vocal, were the epitome of polished perfection. 

The pop-hook-synth-line drive, tight-as-fuck (to the extent that the beats could almost be processed!) drumming, incredible close harmonies and epic choruses of tracks such as Heartbreaker, The Best Of You And Me and So Over You are reminiscent of Electro-Pop monsters Hellogoodbye, Sherwoord, and Shiny Toy Guns, while the floating and haunting vocals in tracks such as Youth Games are at times not dissimilar to Keane. Basically these guys have really thought about their act. The image is spot on, the sound is polished, the production perfect, and the direction is relevent, and with tours booked with Saving Aimee and Elliot Minor for this Summer, and having recently signed to a UK label.. well if’s safe to say you will be hearing a lot more about these guys. So don’t be a fool, check them out, and you can tell everyone you heard them first.. (I won’t rumble you!)

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2 Responses to “Armstrong + The Mission District – Live Review”

  1. Tim the Talbot said

    I forgot i lost my mic. Seriously, who loses a mic during a show.

    But then again which venues have a half foot gap in the middle of the stage…

  2. Rob said

    thanks for the nice review 🙂
    hopefully you can see us again soon on a bit of a bigger stage.
    x

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