Six By Seven headlined the third of four nights celebrating Mantra Records’ 5th birthday.
Rock of Travolta opened with an alluring noisefest. Named like an action movie, this band looked like librarians and played like superheroes. They earnestly conducted the marriage of Sonic Youth to the star of the school orchestra.
Indie rockers Parva brought diversity inspired by some of the finer pop traditions. From cheerful, ’60s-style tunes reminiscent of The Monkees, they shifted to space-age freneticism, fuzzy effects and hysterical climaxes.
Six By Seven lived up to their reputation for sheer weight, but would have disappointed anyone expecting hard rock. Pompous song titles and massive volume did not compensate for a lack of fervour. Seemingly dispassionate, Six By Seven displayed no lust for life – or death.
The band maintained a moody, sullen demeanour. They looked bored, effused tedium. Their dark dirges smacked of regurgitated teen angst. These ageing adolescents did not convince.
Firmly rooted in the ’80s, Six By Seven seemed to derive their sound from the more enigmatic bands of that decade. The debt to Sisters of Mercy, Depeche Mode and The Mission was apparent, but comparisons would not do justice to those heavyweights of sinister rock. Six By Seven lacked the musicality, depth, delicacy and emotion which the others have conveyed. Where other bands would have been melodious in their misery, Six By Seven were monotone and overbearing.
Bombastic, shallow and one-dimensional, Six By Seven were upstaged by the support acts who were sincere, believable and impressively versatile.