Falling Off Maps at Buffalo Bar
Five-piece Falling Off Maps appeared to be bursting off the small stage at Buffalo Bar. Although a relatively calm band, they were set the hard task of performing at a live music night, along with a number of different artists, for a mostly disinterested and chatty crowd. They were however able to channel an eclectic musical performance through just their instruments alone, including at one point three guitar players and two keyboardists.
Appearing reserved and nervous on stage, one could easily mistake Falling Off Maps for a band just starting out, unsure how to interact with an indifferent audience. But surprisingly the band have had quite a lot of past success under their previous name Headway. They signed to a major label, played at Wembley Arena and various venues in Los Angeles, and even supported ZZ Top. Unfortunately they see themselves as “burned” by this experience and are now attempting a fresh start – this could definitely be picked up on at their live show.
Professional and proper, their performance perhaps showed a band that has learnt from past mistakes and is now very keen to improve. The musicians are hard-working, and the pianist, Tom Harrison, was particularly eloquent and focused throughout.
The song Neon Cross highlighted their focus. It had a slow build up, with a sickly soft keyboard in parts reminiscent of Air’s Virgin Suicides, accompanied by the sweet vocals of singer Dave Wright, before exploding into a piano-based jam.
The last song The Redeemer showed elements of some fire in the band. From the start, the unfortunately skimpy crowd were hooked by the guitar riff and Wright’s clapping. There were still bubble-gum keyboard moments, but the guitarist and the drummer managed to hold it all together, for what was the catchiest and most memorable song of the gig.
Falling Off Maps look and sound like a very nice, polite boy band. While they may have seemed a little too sweet for a basement bar on a Tuesday night, they are a very thoughtfully produced live band. Their arrangements of symphonic backing tracks, various guitars and keyboards demonstrate an attempt to create their own version of music, while not being concerned about image – something that can often be overrated.
For further information and future events visit Falling Off Maps’ website here.
Watch the live video of Neon Cross here: