There are certain criteria that a Free Fringe Show should fulfil when performed in a public bar. For starters, acts should remember that several people in the bar may not necessarily be there to specifically listen in, and as such should be entertaining and watchable without being too intrusive.
With that in mind, at times during the afternoon, the noise coming from the stage became unbearable. This is due to no fault of the first and third acts that performed on this particularly stuffy Saturday. Aussie Todd Cook played the guitar and didgeridoo well but never excelled, and a young Scottish folk band impressed with some traditional tunes which were easy on the ears. It was the middle act that really grated.
Amie Amis consists of the four classic components of any band - drummer, guitarist, bassist and lead singer - but when the best vocal performance of a show comes during the testing of the microphones, there is definitely something amiss. It may have been the stark contrast between the energy levels of the band and the singer. The latter bounced around on stage and off, crawling on top of tables and rolling around on the floor, while the bassist sat strumming, eyes glazed over and the drummer lazily slapped the kit as if he had been beating the same rhythm for years. It may have been the dreadful cover versions attempted by the group, including a truly frightful version of AC/DC’s ‘Whole Lotta Rosie’. It may have been the juvenile lyrics of the original songs. ‘You’re a stupid fool, go away and leave me alone, you’re so stupid.’ What really made this act so objectionable was the soloist herself. The enthusiasm and energy that she brought to the show is impressive, but to say that she overdid it with the vocals is an understatement. It is clear that she can sing, and fairly well, but the childish way in which she sang every song got old very quickly, as did the screechy high notes. The listener felt most at ease when she was playing the French horn and her mouth was therefore otherwise occupied.
It is unfair to give a star rating based on just one act of several, but if you are thinking of heading down to Malone’s for a drink, make sure you pick the right time. Aside from Amie Amis, this would have been a pleasant afternoon in the company of fellow artists, but as it was, it was difficult not to plug in some headphones and block out the noise completely.