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Blood Red Shoes Album Launch Gig Review

05/03/2014 12:41 GMT | Updated 02/05/2014 10:59 BST

I had the wonderful experience on Sunday of watching Blood Red Shoes play an intimate album launch gig at The Fighting Cocks in Kingston upon Thames, at 3 o'clock in the afternoon; this made me remember how great it is to be up close and personal with bands rather than sitting 'miles' away in an arena.

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Image: © Christopher Hamer

In an age when arena tours seem to be gaining popularity, I feel that at times there is a disconnect between some bands and their fans, yes the deafening roar of the crowd is quite spectacular in somewhere like the O2 Arena, but most people can only just make out the band as specks of light in the distance. Is this really how we want to be enjoying our music? Digital music files are easily downloaded off iTunes in a few seconds listened to a few times and then forgotten about - for all intents and purposes the CD is pretty much dead (although it is nice to see Vinyl sales increasing) so live shows are pretty much the only way you will hear the band's music as they intend it to be heard - be honest, when was the last time you listened to an album from start to finish without skipping tracks?

This brings me neatly to Sunday's gig; I have seen Blood Red Shoes three times now. In 2008 at the Frequency Festival in Austria, then at the beginning of 2013 in the Shepherds Bush Empire and on Sunday at The Fighting Cocks. Each of these venue's gave a totally different experience - the Festival was brilliant and we were thankfully just meters from the stage but I didn't really feel like I was connecting with the music. Shepherds Bush was a huge improvement but this time I was quite far back which ruined it a bit, being in a 150 capacity venue on the other hand was sublime. Close enough to practically touch the stage and really see the facial expressions of the musicians as they give it their all. However the experience does make me question whether it also had something to do with they way Blood Red Shoes performed.

The band seemed to put everything into this small gig - only advertised a few days prior - belting out their new songs with such energy and gusto, ensuring that everyone quickly got into the music. I think it takes some nerve to play what was essentially an album launch gig in such a small venue, but they pulled it off beautifully. Their new tracks were amazing live - 'An Animal' particularly so with Steven Ansell's rocking drums and grungy vocal's- 'Speech Coma' also went down a storm with Laura-Mary Carter's gritty vocals standing out above the incessant drums and guitar riffs. Other tracks which lit up the room included 'I wish I was someone better' - delivered in almost a soulful manner - and 'Cold' which had the room singing along in seconds.

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Image: © Christopher Hamer

Their new self titled album is a belter and it's great to see the band evolving so nicely across the four albums they have now released without loosing their core sound. The track I got into most is 'The Perfect Mess' which seems to take you on a musical journey through the bands history. The fact it is followed by 'Behind A Wall' is a stroke of genius as they really are two contrasting sides of the same album.

Blood Red Shoes and their grunge rock sound are going from strength to strength, both live and in the studio, at this point you might be tempted to say they have 'evolved as a band' or 'matured'. Maybe, the joy is that they have managed to hold onto their almost ethereal sound despite 6 years passing since the release of their first album?

A solid 4/5 for their new album and launch gig at The Fighting Cocks - their tour which starts very soon is likely to be one of their best yet, definitely a band worth following if you aren't already.

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Image: © Christopher Hamer