DUBLIN, Ireland (IrishUnsigned.com) - There's nothing worse than being the very first band on a lineup that includes 6 (with the Headliners), knowing that most people are not even dreaming of getting to the venue for at least another hour.
Having said that, Lotus Lullaby made the most of the situation, going first in the UK Final of the National Student Music Awards in London on Thursday. Before they were done they had made themselves a nice handful of admirers in the nice handful of a crowd. Only about 50 people were stood in front of the stage when they started. By the time they finished, this had swelled to about 200 or so, punters making their way in from the adjoining bars to see what the fuss was all about, because fuss there most certainly was.
Instead of the usual sporadic round of polite applause that you would normally get when each song finishes, Lotus Lullaby were rewarded for their efforts with serious and sustained whistles and clapping. They had, certainly, made themselves some new fans.
In terms of the judges, though, not enough. Unofficial reports afterwards suggested that the vote came down to one judge. Half put the Irish lads as best, and half put them as Runners Up. Lotus Lullaby apparently ended up as Runners Up to the Bloc Party-like Olympus Mons by one point. Kind of like winning an election on second preference votes. The English winners were good, and realatively easy on the ear (although, in my opinion, not nearly as entertaining) and were obviously much more 'topical' then the hard-to-categorise Irish winners.
Overall the gig was enjoyable but nothing more than that. The rest of the bands who made it through hundreds of entries to reach the Final were not much more than filling for the sandwich between Lutos Lullaby and Olympus Mons. One was a bit too "Madchester", one not much more than a pub/party band and another was just plain uninteresting. I can't recall a single song from any of them, although that could be down to the quantities of Southern Comfort consumed since the night (it was a three-day marathon for us although it seems like it was three weeks). All in all, as Lotus Lullaby's Gavin Dunne stated on the night: It was a disappointment if not really a surprise and it was a pretty good first-ever London gig. Olympus Mons were very good at what they did. Picture Bloc Party mixed with.... well, more Bloc Party and you'll get the idea.
The winners were announced, the crowd soon dispersed and the stragglers with no homes to go to (including us, it has to be said) put our stamina to the test and hung on in there. During the after-show DJ, I noticed a regular stuttering stream of admirers approach the Lotus Lullaby lads looking for, as I thought, autographs and I found that amusing, until I overheard one or two asking for the bands web address. Despite calling it out on stage (both their web addreses, twice) the accent obviously stumped one or two. Still, what was interesting was that these people must have been in the original 50 or so early-arrivers who had seen the lads on stage.
Or, more likely, they had heard so much about them through the night that they decided they had to check the sounds out for themselves.
So, Lotus Lullaby's 'unbeaten run' comes to an end. As with any 'end', it remains to be seen whether the lads can make it the opportunity for their next 'beginning'
Check out Lotus Lullaby's sound, if you haven't already, at lotuslullaby.com or MySpace