InLight, The Family Machine
Fortunately we'd decided to cut and run from Posh Fish, because we arrived at the Jericho Tavern to find the sets for the night's Daisy Rodgers Music Promotions gig had all been moved forward 20 minutes. With the exception of Hella Cholla, whose swine flu was the reason for the bump.
So there was barely time to suss out who we knew off twitter before we were launched into InLight's set. The gig had a strange feel, because InLight are currently the biggest homegrown band still playing in Oxford (despite being squeaked out by Witches at Jack fm's next Big Thing), and had won the "who gets to play an extra cover" contest by a street, thanks both to their ubiquity on twitter and the fact they were offering The Beatles while Family Machine were offering, er, Backstreet Boys.
It got stranger when the crowd resolutely refused to move to the front for the band's phenomenal set. I've seen InLight three times now this year and they grow six feet taller every time. To their massive, beautifully-orchestrated Verve/Beatles/maybe a touch of Radiohead (or was that still an echo in my ears from Reading on Sunday?) sound they've now added exquisitely-crafted instrumental intros, and Mike Riddle has found an extra layer of sound even he didn't know was lurking in his guitar. There was new material as well, but it was their barnstorming singles Disappear and Icarus that bookended the magnificent half hour. If you get the chance, go and see them while you can still do so without blowing a week's budget on the ticket.
The crowd surged forward for Family Machine, determined to do the right thing for the headline set. And to my surprise it worked. Theirs is a completely different sound - quiet, almost folky (the frontman looks like Shane McGowan might have done in a land before beer, adding to the image), with a hint of rockabilly, and enough ska to give them just the right amount of edge. But it was a more intimate set, which needed the audience to cosy up as Jamie gave us a few lines of cheeky self-deprecating banter whilst retuning a clearly recalcitrant guitar between songs. It was a lovely, toddy-and-slippers finish to the evening, which they topped off - to prove they could do a big sound too - by doing their cover anyway.
Dan Holloway (DI Reviewer), 04/09/09
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