Just Gettin' By
Birmingham's The Allies (not to be confused with the US band of the same name) are tucked away in the basement of Dry bar today and unfortunately I don't catch as much of their set as I'd like. Still, it's enough to write about and they did enough in the short time I saw them to prick the interest.
The crowd is just about respectable and the sound is decent, which is a good thing as with the mix of instruments on display it's all going to fall flat if they can't be heard. They mix violin and squeezebox in with the more traditional guitar, drums & bass and it all makes for an interesting sound. Half of the time they come across like Gogol Bordello crossed with the Levellers (without the anarchy or attitude though) and yet they can also sound a little like The Housemartins with Liam Conway's vocals having a shade of Arctic Monkeys about them.
They are clearly consummate musicians and the songs are pretty good, especially when they move more into upbeat folk. The stage show could do with a little work, they occasionally look nervous but if they can let loose a bit and keep the music tight then they could well develop into a potent live band. Now I confess I have no idea what songs they played but checking out their demo when I get home they do have some impressive songs, 'This Land' and 'Ain't No Love Lost' are both very catchy and although you could argue that they're not exactly original it's still good listening. Check them out, they're good already but you get the feeling they could get better!