“Has anyone got a pick? Paper Tigers everyone, f@#k The Hiding Place.” Jokes highly respected Jim McShee as Damon of Paper Tigers beats The Hiding Place’s Jonny to handing Jim a plectrum. The warm, friendly and fun atmosphere is set up by the end of the first song by Jim, who floats into second song Pray For My Bones Sweet Mary, which will feature on his new record which he hopes to release in the new year. After thrashing through the song like the mellowed, heart pouring blues artist Jim is, he then performs a cover song which fits in perfectly with the set.
Half way though the set Jim seems to feel a tad nervous between two songs perhaps, but his nerves are not in sight as he pours his heart out on his Epiphone six string. During one song McShee does have a slight stumble but he carries on regardless, so well so it could be mistaken as being part of the set. A sense of nervousness is always seeming to be hanging in the air during Jim’s sets, which, if this is the case, would be quite a mystery, as Jim carries talent far richer than many local acts and should burst onto the stage with immense confidence and indeed pride.
A couple of errors going into the final two songs, including forgetting lyrics, an error of which Jim seems more annoyed with than anybody in The Full Moon. Slip up aside, Jim yet again rattled through his set like a true bluegrass artist should.
Sharks v Bears jump on stage and are clearly very confident. They play a set full of chatting and banter between each song, and the songs themselves are full of tempo and noise. But good noise, organised noise, each song is very well written and each has some sort of hook which keeps the sound of Sharks v Bears in your head. Guitarist Aidan Rossiter seems to be a perfectionist in the tuning of his guitar and perhaps takes a little too long in between each song to tune up, leaving the set looking at times a little disorganised. But the sound he gives the crowd with his guitar all but makes up for it, with great effects used and inspired riffs played. Lights is a top tune, probably the signature song of the bands set. More songs like this one should see the band do well heading into 2013.
Main support band Paper Tigers thrash through their set with precision as always. Summer On Blossom Street is seamless, as is fellow ‘Safe In Words’ song Back To You. The EP’s release has been eagerly anticipated and with only a few weeks to go now until it’s launched, the band have created the perfect set to accompany the EP songs. The Killers’ When You Were Young fits into the set so well it could be mistaken as one of their own, though the lead riff in this song came across as a tad hard to hear. Maybe this was simply due to guitarist Damon using a Les Paul that he has not yet used to.
The feeling that Paper Tigers might not realise just how good they actually are is a worrying one. They are certainly too good to be supporting bands at The Full Moon, even bands as good as The Hiding Place. Paper Tigers are now forming trademark moves in their song, further stamping Paper Tigers in the heart of every tune they unleash. The climatic kick of the snare before racing into a chorus. The clever use of vocal harmonics. Jim Carter as lead singer is more of a front man than he ever was, giving a performance and having confidence when interacting with the crowd. It’s all there now from Paper Tigers. These guys need to leave the nest of Stoke-on-Trent and spread their wings before they miss their chance.
In front of a crowd that had dramatically depleted from that present for Paper Tigers, The Hiding Place take to the stage without fear or even acknowledgement of such a fact. After one strike the guys hit straight into a lifting drum beat accompanied by a sturdy, hard-core-esque vocal with both an immense and intense amount of energy to back it all up from the very first hurdle. Shaggy looking front man Dominic Webber joins the crowd before any hint of chorus or meaning behind lyric, crying out amongst a static 20 people like they were 1000. In Perfect company to the strong, hard-hitting sound the 5-piece boast, a piercing, screaming backing vocal comes from guitarist Jonny Wood throughout, oozing both charm and sweat in equal measure.
A set topped to the brim with intelligent dynamics, tight links and songs to oppose even the best in their field, The Hiding Place continue to hammer their way through a ferocious and beautiful set. After loosening up the audience and having laid out early on exactly what it was they were all about, bodies were moving involuntarily, arms were in the air, and words were screamed straight back at the band, And Rightly so. A fatigued looking Joe Barber shakes into the last song to conclude what had been a great night for an often forgot about genre of music not only in this city but throughout the country. Front man Dom was once again back in the crowd bellowing his all into the mic and moshing along with an attentive crowd below stage level. Meanwhile, the band continue to tear apart the stage and a relatively motionless Guitarist Phil Ward pounds his guitar to create a sound that is one day destined to cause a stir nationwide.
Whether or not The Hiding Place is your type of music, or preferable taste in visuals on or off stage, their passion for music and for what they do shines straight through from the first to the very last beat. There is a lesson to be learnt from them no matter what kind of musician you are or want to be and that lesson is not only how to do it, but how to do it right. And if you’re not a musician it’s not going to matter either way because it’s guaranteed to blow you quite literally, away.