Fell City Girl consist of Phil McMinn on vocals/guitar, Joe Gibbons on guitar, Adam Drake on bass and James "Shrek" Pamphilon on drums. They've been around a couple of years now, and by all accounts have been pretty busy boys, opening both the Carling Reading and Leeds weekends, supporting Longview on a UK tour and playing three sell out gigs in their native Oxford's Zodiac. They say they're here to break your heart and they might just do it.
Having been treated to the band's new EP/video previews the week before, we were very much looking forward to seeing what they could do live. This gig marked the launch of said EP (4 track limited edition "February Snow" EP available from Rough Trade, HMV, lavolta008).
Lead singer Phil McMinn has an amazing vocal range and a very distinctive style...evoking the ecletic range of Muse, a bit of the Manics, and, er, a touch of Beddingfield (but good). We felt a bit sorry for him, singing his heart out into Barfly's crappy sound system, but the packed crowd got into the spirit of the event, reacting well to songs.
The 7 song set was tight and professional with hardly a break between songs, sweeping us effortlessly between pop and rock, shining guitars and uplifting vocals, through somber soundscapes and meloncholy tunes. Arguably the best songs were left until last, The final song, Rudolph Valentino, Star of the Big Screen and their penultimate number February Snow being the songs that really stood out.
February Snow is their first EP - their previous releases being limited edition singles, long since sold out. The video to February Snow is simple and beautiful, matching the song's power with understated elegance. And yes, we may be sounding a bit fanboy about it all, but they really are that good. XFM appear to agree and have added it to their playlist and they have also featured on both Jonathan Ross and Mark Radcliffe's respective
With such a rich tapestry of influences including early Verve, Muse, Sigur Ros, and Bjork woven eloquently into their own distinctive post pop/rock style, we're pretty sure this is a band that we will be hearing more from in the future.
Photo and words by Scott Von Loey. See a full gallery of photos from the show here