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Clarkesville interview | Middlesbrough Empire | 27/07/03

Taking the Michael

Gig Review by Dawn / Band Photo courtesy of Clarkesville

No corny ‘last train’ jokes and no needlessly flashy language: any review of Clarkesville ought to focus firmly on the music and on the rare talent that is mainman Michael Clarke.

Supporting the highly-rated Rooney and promoting debut album The Half Chapter, the band suffer more than their fair share of technical problems but still manage to outshine the American headliners as their blond frontman impresses on guitar, piano and vocals.

The eye-catching video for forthcoming debut single Secret File is already on rotation on music channels such as The Amp, and anyone fortunate enough to have seen it will also have witnessed the infectious energy which has already become synonymous with Michael’s live performance. Steve, Nikolaj and Richie, meanwhile, do a sterling job on bass, guitar/keys and drums respectively yet, while they complement him perfectly, there is no disputing the fact that Michael is the focal point of the Clarkesville show.

Tonight’s support slot comprises only six songs, but the band make the stage their own from the moment the intriguing and ethereal looped sounds of Evergreen begin. Other highlights are Heavy Soul - probably the strongest track on the Half Chapter album and surely a future single – and the wonderfully hypnotic Just Kills Me, which builds up beautifully to its crescendo climax of piano and guitar and brings the set to a perfect end.

 

 

At only 22 years of age, he freely admits that he still has much to learn, and yet new acts rarely show as much promise as Michael Clarke and his bandmates. He has the charm, the voice, the stage presence and he certainly has the songs and with time he’ll surely blossom into the finished article. The future is definitely bright in Clarkesville.

Thanks to the Clarkesville boys, to Mark and James. Visit www.Clarkesville.net for more information, or www.TheDeciphers.net for Michael and Steve's latest musical incarnation.

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