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Retribution Gospel Choir
@ Magnet Club (22.3.10) with Charter
Upon entering the stage at Magnet club, Retribution Gospel Choir wasted no time in flattening the audience with a wall of sound. Alan Sparhawk (vox, guitar), Eric Pollard (drums), and Steve Garrington (bass) were instantly in their own world of heavy sound intermixed with soaring melodies, crashing drums and a hard bass line. It became instantly obvious they play a style of music best experienced in a live setting.
The three men made it very apparent that they were on stage in order to give their all to the music and hence to the audience. Each musician grasped his instrument and played with full-blown energy and passion.
Sparhawk sang intently, straining at every word, placing as much emphasis as possible on the vocals while simultaneously ripping up the guitar (at one point even playing with his teeth). Pollard manhandled the drums, flying between sparse and even tempos (though a rare occurrence at this show, for example in ‘Bless Us All') and thrashing through the frequent jams with fierce intensity. Garrington, too, was not one to be outdone in his obvious enjoyment and thrill of the music and stage. Ignoring the possibility of staying in one place and plucking out a simple bass line, Garrington took up half the stage expressively pulling the rhythm out of the bass and throwing it against the audience.
For me RHC are in their element on stage and should be seen as a live band. Their own enjoyment and passion for the music is infectious, making it easy for the audience to rock along with them. Though their albums are well done, commanding rock music interspersed with crashing noise, some catchy hooks and a couple radio-friendly tunes (especially off the latest album "2": ‘Hide it Away' and ‘Workin' Hard'). The songs really flourish in the live setting and are easily played as really great rock ‘n' roll with all the requisite psychedelic jams and sweaty musicians.
The best part of the evening is that you really get an expanded experience from the studio-album. This is not a band you see just for a playback of what they've recorded in the past few years, go see Retribution Gospel Choir for an original and rewarding rock show.
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