The choice of venue (pun definitely intended) is perhaps quite telling. The 229 Venue isn't really part of the usual treadmill for bands to play in London, and it could quite easily be not noticed as despite being very close to the very busy Euston Road it's still rather out of sight being subterranean.

Which seems to be quite appropriate for the Experimental Pop Band, who much prefer doing things by their standards rather than buying in to the usual record industry game.

In fact the start of their set is low key with a series of less intrusive songs that shuffle about rather timidly - a deliberate strategy band leader Davey Woodward tells me afterwards. The motley collection of student types aren't really bothered and chatter away. Invariably bands kick off gigs with a bang, grabbing the audience by the scruff of the neck and, effectively, shouting 'listen to this!'

But that's not the Experimental Pop Band's way - and they're all the better for that stance.

But after a somewhat inauspicious start the band, led by guitarist and singer Woodward, pick up the pace and settle down to enchant the audience. Mainly here to promote their forthcoming album 'Vertigo', their set is composed of newer songs with a smattering of some well-worn songs like 'Emotion' from 'The Tracksuit Trilogy' released in 2000.

The quartet make things look effortless. Drummer Mark Bradley, with a basic set-up plays like a nodding-out Charlie Watts - minimum effort but maximum effect. It's not complicated but clearly gets the job done of keeping time. Similarly Woodward rejects the trappings of orthodox rock star stardom and turns up with a battered guitar held together with gaffer tape. Still though he's a keen lyricist and great songwriter. Rivalling the likes of Jarvis Cocker and Morrissey with his social observations, he blends that with dry wit as he comments on popular culture in songs like 'Can You Feel the Heat?'.

Slowly but surely the band start to win over a few of the undecided who move in to grab a closer look. Things come to a wonderful end with the closing 'Outside' from their new album. Anyone doubting that the band can pull out the stops if needed should look no further than this.

The analogy of the gig's location rather holds for the band. Located just off the mainstream, the world may very well be zooming by and leaving them standing but it would be well worth making a slight detour.

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Commenting On: 229 Venue, London, 29/3/2012 - Experimental Pop Band

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