Review of their gig in Whelan's, Dublin, March 10, 2000
Having read numerous interviews with Bristol based duo Day One prior to theirWhelan's gig, I became very curious about the act. So much so that I took a wander down to Whelan's last Friday evening to check them out. The main reason for my curiosity is their association with the great Massive Attack. Day One were signed by Massive Attack's 3D himself and have just released their debut album 'Ordinary Man' on the Melankolic Label.
Also tempting me out of my cosy Friday night pup session was the description of their style of music in the inkies. Not typecast in any one genre, Day One's style was described as a medley of, among other things, pop and hip-hop, with chilled beats and soaring melodies thrown into the mix. Sound interesting? I thought so, and judging by the healthy crowd in Wexford Street's finest venue, I wasn't the only one.
But of course, the real question is, did Day One live up to the hype? The answer to that one is a complex yes and no...
The first thing that struck me about Day One is that their music was incredibly tight and well-rehearsed. They varied between playing guitar driven pop that veers off into indie territory, and playing dark but melodious beat-laden tunes. To be honest the indie-style songs were a little dull, but when the guitarist lay down his six-string and transferred to the keyboard, then the other side of Day One began to show. And an excellent one it is too. Beat-laden, funky yet chilled, this is good stuff. Only on one or two occasions during their short set did the band attempt to fuse both sides of the coin together. When they did, the results were excellent, especially on the live airing of their just released single, 'Waiting For a Break'.
While there was little to fault about the music, Day One's vocalist left a lot to be desired on the night. While he had a cool, laid-back on-stage presence, and a smooth vocal style his voice was so low it was drowned out by the music on almost all the songs. Whether the sound engineer or the singer himself was to blame I don't know, but it ruined what would otherwise have been absolutely top class music. At times there was a similarity to Tricky in the singer's style, that is a low talking style, but without the menacing undertones found in Trickys' songs. So, while what I could hear of his vocals was intriguing, it was disappointing that he didn't live up to the standard of the rest of the music. The same goes for the lyrics, the snippets sounded well crafted and interesting, but unfortunately snippets was all they were.
So there you have it, while Day One are a band with absolutely massive potential, they really do have to sort out the live show. But, all in all, while the gig wasn't as good as it could have been, it was more than good enough to whet my appetite for the album, which I will be sure to have a listen to very soon. I recommend you do too. In time, these guys have the potential to be up there with the best. They might even give Massive Attack a run for their money.
Ordinary Man is out now on Melankolic.