It had just gone 8pm when I dropped down the stairs into Bar Bloc. Stones on the jukebox, newspapers at the bar; good first impression! It would not be until 9pm that the first band would hit the stage. I ordered a pint.
Theme, a band from West Lothian, announced their arrival with "Avoid", a slow-burning rocker that did little to shift listeners from the bar. Unfortunately, it did just the opposite. The bar was far from packed, and many in attendance were, in fact, driven out by the music. The band themselves sounded ill-rehearsed. After just 2 songs, they disappeared inexplicably for around 30 minutes. Whatever the cause of their sabbatical, it seemed to improve things. They announced their return with "Folklore". The highlight of their set, "Take a Walk" was a guitar-driven rocker, as opposed to the majority of their songs being keyboard-led. Each member, as an individual, clearly knew their instrument well. Unfortunately, together, it just doesn't seem to work. As a school report card might say - they must try harder.
Paula Knight arrived on stage, with bassist Don and drummer Harvey in tow, around 10:30pm. The band launched into "Messin' About", a fast-paced tune which allowed Paula to demonstrate her knowledge of the fret board. By no means a music-by-numbers affair. "Leave My Mind" and "Can't Sleep Tonight" showed a softer side to Paula's music. While the lyrics do little to interest the ears, it is ultimately the quality of the music that will drive Paula forward. In a time when the term "genre" has scaled new heights of stupidity, Paula is a pleasant change. The music weaves in and out of genre. This absence of classification may confuse people, but the smart ones will use their ears instead. I felt that the show gathered momentum as it went on, with the band coming out of their shell. The band is still young, but Paula's songs are undeniably catchy. Paula has a great voice, which, fortunately, compliments most of her current crop of songs nicely. I am pleased to say that the band refrained from throwing any ridiculous poses or clichéd phrases into the show. New bands need to be themselves.
I had been informed - by Paula of all people - that this was only the fifth show the band had done together. Paula's confidence can only grow with experience, and providing they stick at it, who knows where they might wind up? A school teacher by day, Paula isn't the most likely "rawk" heroine. That said, didn't KT Tunstall began her musical career as a busker? Paula's music career is still in its infancy, but don't be surprised if her name becomes a common sight in and around Glasgow. I wonder if we'll get a cover of a certain Van Halen song, Paula?