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December 4 2009 6 04 /12 /December /2009 23:09

Needle and the Pain Reaction

DNA – 28th November 2009

Quite a choice on tonight. There’s OMD & Simple Minds at Forest National, and The Musical Box (Genesis in their full prog-rock glory) at the Cirque Royal. Both at extortionate ticket prices. Or there’s a small band in a small venue where the company is (usually) excellent and the beer is normal prices.

We’d spotted Needle & The Pain Reaction because we’d been to the Musicantendag at the AB a couple of weeks back. The guy who gave us most of the feedback on our demo was obviously quite clued up. In researching exactly who he was, it turned out that he played bass in N&TPR, so Ronan & I decided that it would be worth popping along to the DNA to see him if he’d put his money where his mouth is.

Needle & The Pain Reaction are a good old tried-and-tested power-trio format. Lucce on bass, Peter on drums and Wim on guitar and lead vocals. This is the KISS principle (Keep It Simple Stupid!) applied to Rock music. Direct bass, loud guitar, thumping drums and a clear vocal. So simple even, that there’s only a single FX pedal between the lot of them!

I thought a bit punkish, a bit of Nirvana, and they really made me thing of the Foo Fighters – Simple, straight, loud, effective rock, and very well executed. The songs are direct, up-front, and there’s really loads of space, and the execution is immaculate.

They’re a very tight outfit, but maybe just a little too basic for my liking. I could see a guitar-synth in there, or a really wild Hammond, but then I would. I didn’t quite connect with the music. It’s decent enough, but the tunes didn’t stand out  well enough to hum along to on the way home. What I did connect with, big time, was the band’s infectious attitude and energy. It’s a sparse crowd. I counted 20 people, including the barstaff. But I looked round at the end of one of the songs ½ way through the set, and all but 2 of the audience had a huge grin and were clapping as loud as possible (and in favour of the 2 offenders, as you can grin with a beer glass in your mouth, but you can’t clap with one in your hands). That’s a crowd that included some fairly harsh critics – yours truly, Nico from Garner, and Ronan from Subsonic Hornet, and I bumped into a journalist from CuttingEdge.be.

Now, I don’t think that the Foo Fighters are anything other than a decent rock band. There’s no way I’d pay €40-50 to go & see them at a somewhere like Forest National. However, there’s gazillions of people who think that they are the best band ever to have graced the face of the earth, so I’ll qualify my own views with a pinch of salt. But in a small venue, good solid rock band, and a few friends? I’d be down there like a shot.

That pretty much sums up Needle and the Pain Reaction for me. That magic of getting to see just pure rock’n’roll up close. In a small venue, they are utterly, utterly fabulous.

Official web site: http://www.needle.be/

And Lucce deserves a very honourable mention for the DJ set afterwards – he scored at least 4 on the wahay-excellent-havn’t-heard-that-one-for-ages-ometer.

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Published by Jez - in Live reviews
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