Concert Review by Neil Ryan
Water Rats, London – 12 August 2003
I had scoped a few good notices in passing and thought that the latest EP had some promise so it was with a fair degree of optimism that I sought to establish the optimum position under a ceiling fan and waited for Belasco to appear. Three unassuming indie-pop everyblokes take the stage and friends and peers raise a cheer. European acclaim and the warm approval of certain sections of the UK press have set the bar quite high for these boys and the next few months (encompassing the release of debut album proper KNOWING EVERYONE’S OKAY) should be crucial.
Two numbers of undeniable ‘okay’-ness come and go. And then vocalist Tim Brownlow switches to a semi-acoustic guitar and current EP headliner 15 SECONDS heralds a sea-change that reverberates through band and audience both. The crowd’s appreciation surpasses the merely perfunctory and polite as they are inspired and enthused by a series of songs sounding not unlike The Doves covering Joshua Tree era U2, continually hitting peaks that normally remain unchartered territory for a band of such tender years.
Belasco, bless ‘em, feed off the emotional surge of the audience and up the ante further: bassist Duff Battye throws some vintage low-slung Hooky-inspired shapes and Tim fixes his gaze several feet above the heads of the crowd in an unblinking 1000 yard stare. He even attempts some endearingly inept banter between songs that could come straight from the pages of a Chris Martin “How to…” manual. The confidence is flowing and these boys have got the tunes to walk the walk.
At a time when the early bluster and promise of new indie chancers all too often peters out into underwhelming debut albums (stand up Medium 21, stop hiding at the back Rain Band) there’s the distinct possibility that Belasco could find themselves hailed as the real deal.