Fame

Live review from Planetrox China 中國 Final 2013:

IMG_8974.JPGSetlist:

1. Prophecy

2. Grave

3. Every Breath You Fake

Fame were on fourth, and were the unknowns of the night for me. They started off with a sombre-ish arpeggio, and moved into a chugging bit, reminiscent of Zombie by The Cranberries. The singer has a decent range, and has a deep, off-kilter voice, very similar to that of Eli’s Sun. Unfortunately he, by virtue of this, has the tendency to sound off-key while singing; and while this could be construed as something of an advantage when one considers Eli’s more Radiohead-like style, the straight pop-rock of Fame is not very amenable to sounding off-key. While I strongly feel that this sort of voice just sounds off, several people seemed to think otherwise. This aside, Fame has nothing special to offer the dedicated music-listening audience; their style is very radio-friendly, light-on-the-ears rock, with fairly run-of-the-mill topics, and hackneyed lyrics. Perhaps it was a function of their video for the first stage of the competition being more impressive than they are live; in any case, I have to regretfully say that they’re not really ready for competing at this standard yet.

The combination of voice and style do not work well with each other, and Fame should strongly consider a change in musical direction. This said, they are exactly the kind of band that please audiences, and if one takes this in one’s stride, they are a competent, entertaining band. Just don’t expect to be blown away. Indeed, their bassist showed a propensity to play some smooth runs when given the chance, and their guitarist is well-versed in the standard rock requirements of being able to compose catchy lines on the guitar (their drummer could’ve been more enthusiastic, though). He also took the Nirvana approach to solos, which is to essentially play short variations on the main tune, and not to noodle wankily, which is also positive. Grave was a semi-ballad that had moments of emotional appeal, and Every Breath… was a fun, typically pop-rock song. Still, Fame have a lot of work to do if they want to be musically interesting, and a lot more enthusiasm to put in if they want to be a particularly entertaining band; I wish them the best for their future.

– Shashwati Kala

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