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Bar Riga Stroud, 28 July 2007

Sometimes the most unexpected of things put a smile on your face! After a couple of days feeling seriously under the weather and my Saturday night looking like another complete wash out, a late night message on myspace planted a seed of interest with the possibility that all was not lost. A band, which had somehow previously passed under my radar, was playing locally, for a worthwhile cause and for the bargain price of a fiver. Of course the added bonus being, that this was a 14+ gig so young James would be able to accompany me.

Armed with nothing more than a good impression gathered from few hastily sampled tracks on myspace from the previous evening, we made our way to the venue. Quite what was going through my mind on seeing the mid-teens dressed in their AC/DC and Iron Maiden T-shirts queuing up outside the venue I wouldnít like to say. Though once through the door all worries were dispelled with the familiar Iron Maiden and Judas Priest tunes pumping through the club PA to impressionable ears. A nice little venue, comfortably full, with fears of the underage drinking alcohol seemingly overcome through the age check and issue of wristbands on the door. What a wonderfully simple idea!

Irritant played a short but memorable set drawn heavily from their chart bothering 'Good Evening From The Machine' EP. Lead vocalist and bass player Niall looks and sounded every bit the rock star, working the audience like an old pro. Not that there was much encouragement required to get the place headbanging and the mosh pit heaving! Opener, Days Turn To Night from their self titled EP setting the tone, up-tempo, machine-gun drums, bass heavy with the twin guitar attack from Will and Jack fiercely trading licks and riffs, their Maiden colours are proudly nailed to the mast. This is no more evident than in the excellent set closer Voice Of The Siren. I

In between they rocked ragged this little part of sodden Gloucestershire, a welcome treat for rockers young and old. Unmistakably influenced by traditional metal, live, this band certainly hits the right spot. As for studio recordings? Iím still waiting to find out, the CDs purchased on the night went home with James and from his admiring comments, I guess unlikely to return. My only criticism would be the shortness of the set, which was due mainly to there being a support band and the curfew, imposed by the venue. Although it must be noted that once it was cleared Bar Riga re-opened at 10pm as a nightclub.

Tonight I realised this is what rock music in general should be aiming for - getting the kids back involved in attending gigs. There is nothing like seeing a band and audience feeding from each otherís energy, with there being none more enthusiastic than this crowd. Nick Wright, general manager of the venue explained he would be more than happy to put more of these gigs on, surely this is a great opportunity for rock music as a whole, lets hope more places follow suit! Irritant? I am just so annoyed with myself for not having noticed them earlier.

Review by Dave Hunter

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