Music Critic Hannah Joint review Solar Eyes’ Castle & Falcon show on the 12th November, describing them as ‘relative newcomers to the gig scene with raw musical talent’
Having recently signed with Fierce Panda Records, who have worked with the likes of Coldplay and Death Cab for Cutie, off the back of their recent EP release, Alcatraz, the Birmingham collective, Solar Eyes took to the stage on Friday evening with something to prove.
Forming during the pandemic meant that the local band were relative newcomers to the gig scene, but this inexperience did not stop their efforts to put on a good show. The crowd that filled the room at Castle & Falcon in Balsall Heath was an interesting one to say the least. The atmosphere was the opposite of what one would usually expect from a group of people anticipating the entrance of a band who have described themselves as having ‘psychedelic trippy rock vibes’. The faces of the audience were predominantly of the older demographic, which is perhaps to be expected from an independent music venue like the Castle & Falcon.
The band took to the stage under vibrant purple strobe lighting which promised energy and excitement. Unfortunately, they fell slightly short of the mark. Opening with a song called ‘Take Me to the Man’, the combination of instruments on stage created a lively and powerful introduction to the show but the lack of audience enthusiasm was prevalent from the offset. Despite being incredibly musically talented with a keen ear for what makes a good track, the group struggled to engage with the crowd. There was real potential in such an intimate venue for audience interaction and encouragement and yet it was lacking.
Solar Eyes did showcase their true musical talent though as they performed select tracks off of their most recent EP, such as the heavily rock inspired title song ‘Alcatraz’, as well as the trippier, melodic tune, ‘Save My Soul’, which was reminiscent of the hypno-groove sounds of acts like Tame Impala. Their discography seemed quite eclectic and broad as the sounds of quite intense, gritty rock was contrasted with more upbeat and lighthearted tunes like ‘I See the Sun’. This varied taste was reflected within the dynamic of the collective as certain members looked to be enjoying themselves on stage whilst others lacked that enthusiasm that is needed to make a good performance great.
Closing the show with the more noteworthy songs was a good move from Solar Eyes as they performed the danceable track ‘Bulldozer’ and finished with the memorable ‘Naked Monkey on a Spaceship’. This is where they really found their feet and came across more confident and natural as a group, it was clear that they were enjoying themselves up there for the closing songs.
For a group that has recently emerged onto the stage, the pathway to success is likely to be full of trial and error, especially when it comes to engaging with an audience. It will be exciting to watch the up-and-coming Solar Eyes as they gain confidence and inevitability go a long way in the music industry.
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