Although relatively new on the live scene, Cord performed a solid set of songs from their soon to be released debut album. Lead singer James is a bundle of energy, and bounded around the stage singing in a voice not dissimilar to Starsailorâ€™s James Walsh. Each song came across like an anthem in waiting, with â€˜Sea Of Troubleâ€™ standing head and shoulders above the rest near the end of their performance.
With excitement building, The Open finally took to the stage and swiftly launched into a magical set of atmospheric tunes from their new album â€˜Statuesâ€™. Set opener â€˜Foreverâ€™ started with just a solitary guitar being played, before building into a huge epic track complete with trumpets, bongos, keyboards, thumping bass and beautiful lyrics performed brilliantly by frontman Steven Bayley. It soon became clear that The Open are a pretty special band in the live arena, with tracks such as â€˜Sheâ€™s Mysteryâ€™ and â€˜Season Of The Changeâ€™ performed faultlessly and with plenty of verve. The band clearly enjoyed the atmosphere in the venue, with Steve immersing himself in the music as he strode around the stage. Old favourite â€˜Close My Eyesâ€™ was another highlight from the show, provoking movement from the audience.
The final track before the obligatory encore was â€˜Two Lovers In The Rainâ€™ on which Cord frontman James returned to the fray to perform backing vocals. The track continued to build on the atmosphere of the previous songs, and ended with trumpet player Ray re-taking to the stage to perform a stunning melody. Top marks to the band for employing a roadie dressed as a ginger clown in face-paint - a nice touch before the encore. The band duly re-appeared to finish the night with a three-song encore which included another old track, â€˜Forgottenâ€™. This culminated in the singer and guitarist screaming the song title over and over into their microphones creating a powerful wall of noise and urgency. The Open may have been overlooked by many up until this point, but if they can keep performing this well, they should stamp their mark on 2006.