‘Beach Sessions’, Waterbeach, Cambridge, 30 January 2016

Just north of Cambridge, in the village of Waterbeach, the unassuming ‘Sun Inn’ is host to some well-kept ales and also a well-kept secret…there is some great music being made in the upstairs gig room. The ‘Beach Sessions’ bring together a mix of local acts, carefully curated for their musical distinctiveness.

The room was packed to the rafters from the start for the opening act The British IBM. A favourite of mine and the incentive for the trip, they were playing a moody and thoughtful set, with just acoustic guitar and bass as accompaniment to the intense vocals of Adrian Killens. On the albums, the complex strings and drum arrangements work well, but stripped down the lyrics and sentiments take centre stage. ‘Nothing Ever Lasts That Long’ is an outsider’s desolation and ‘We Were The Stars’ and ‘The British IBM’ are still subtle but powerful anthems and close the set tonight.

Atomised are a six-piece Indie-rock band with roots in the 80s and 90s sounds of Echo and The Bunnymen, REM, Sisters Of Mercy and Simple Minds. A prestigious pedigree then, and with the excellent sound quality in this venue tonight (there is an enormous mixing desk at the back…) their sound is clear and multi-layered, with keyboard textures and lots of stirring guitar and strong lead vocals. Many of the tracks played were from their album ‘Dreamlands’, with a new one due out this year.

The memorably named Creepy Neighbour finished the show, even more people crammed in and there was a real sense of anticipation. With two members of the band soon leaving to be part of Mika’s touring band the musicianship was spot-on, with pure ethereal vocals from Max Taylor over some eighties popstyled keyboards, bass and guitar. It was a punchy and sharp performance and as the dry ice filled the room we realised that we had seen a storming show (and it was free?!). Roll on the next one…



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