Without Reason: so big, they’re spilling out of the venue

A lead singer can make or break a rock band. They can look like they’re a solo act or be too weak to stand up to the other musicians. Without Reason fits together like a completed Rubik’s Cube.

This is a rock band for listeners who maybe don’t fit straight into the Rock fan mould. You can detect stylish funk and innovative rap inside their phenomenal sound.

For most the gig James on guitar is a steady element: there, guiding the sound, essential to the band’s feel but not making any big gestures musically. Wait til he takes the lead. Your head suddenly swivels round to focus on him and you’re swamped by his modestly executed, ringing, singing solo. All the skill of someone who’s learned his craft and wants to use it at well-chosen moments. Beautiful tones taking centre stage and you lose sight of the other three members who momentarily just support him steadily while he shines.

The rhythm section underpins the act with sure-footed power and force. Hear Ashley on bass, a chunky, generous feel to his style. Sometimes like an interesting conversation going on in the background which you want to listen to, other times like impatient fingers drumming as in their single (released early 2014) Weakest Defence driving the track on. His playing along with Luke on drums sticks the whole sound together with that rare skill of knowing when to stand back and when to step up and take the spotlight.

When Luke on drums takes the spotlight at the start of One Size you’re hit by a raw, primitive energy. Nothing else to focus on, just a drilling, penetrating rhythm like an awakening that hits you right under your ribcage.

His performance was steady and unwavering through the whole evening and in some tracks when he suddenly comes to the fore, you’re blinded by a giant talent.

You want to know how Louise the vocalist sizes up.

You can’t fail to be awed by her entirely fitting, wholly feminine influence. By feminine I mean assured, vulnerable, resilient, knowing and experienced. Her huge stage presence shows a unique way of communicating with the audience, almost one-to-one. Each and every one of us – men and women alike – was seduced by her power and masterful use of the stage.

Her voice has that husky, tempered tone and the occasional note held vibrato is worth waiting for: sensitive, alluring and tantalizingly short-lived. But she knows what she’s doing.

Shoot Pool where I saw them is one of the most basic, un-prettied up venues I’ve ever been to. Without Reason – with their grounded identity, their self-possessed aura and awareness of their ability – filled the room, wired themselves into the hard drive of the very mixed audience and I for one, expect them to be seen at ever bigger, more packed places.

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