Something With Numbers With: The Reptiles, Calerway – Oxford Arts Factory 3rd July 2008

The Oxford Art Factory oozes cool – from the Andy Warhol inspired brick and glass industrial layout, to the living art installation, it may have you thinking that the space only attracts the “in” crowd.  But once we arrived at the basement venue it was great to see a wide mix of punters all brought together by a common goal, to enjoy an evening of awesome live music.

The night got off to an explosive start with the first support act, Calerway, presenting a tight set of solid indie rock. Their confident, not cocky, stage presence could easily trick you into thinking these guys were an established act rather than a band that is still in its infancy. The crowd was relatively large considering the band was only the first support and they were duly rewarded with fierce drumming, catchy hooks and general onstage gusto from the guys.

Next up was The Reptiles who appeared onstage with two of their band member’s identities hidden behind a curtain of long grungy hair. They drowned the room in a sea of guitar heavy punk rock which unfortunately wasn’t met with as much interest as was shown for Calerway. The guys made plenty of noise with their set which included their short and sharp single Haunted House.

After what seemed like an eternity of waiting the black curtains finally opened and the guys bounded on stage. Dressed in a uniform of black, grey and white, Something With Numbers had the audience captivated from the get go.

Charismatic lead singer Jake Grigg is larger than life, not only due to his physical appearance but also his infectious energy and crazy ass and hip shaking onstage antics. Of course the set included the hit Apple of the Eye with its driving drum beat almost daring the audience to move and it was clear that few could resist the urge. But for this reviewer the stand-out track of the night was Goodbye Mickey Finn where the guys pulled out the acoustic guitars and diverged from their usual catchy, beat driven rock to a beautifully stripped back sound complemented by orchestral backing and painful yet honest lyrics.

Although the set list included previously released tracks the sold out show was primarily dedicated to new tunes, including the soon to be released single Stay With Me Bright Eyes from their forthcoming album Engineering The Soul. The enthusiastic audience reception of this infectious track, which isn’t trying to be anything more than a catchy pop-rock tune, suggests that it’s headed towards the must play list of radio stations around the country.

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