This is fourth time I’ve written about a Seven Nines and Tens show, and they’ve all been different. I usually find something new to look at in awe, but in this case I felt the sweet sensation of knowing this was their best set to date. The embarrassing thing is that I still can’t name their songs, something I’ll have to learn. Before they start, they erect large cardboard cutouts of Aragorn and Gandalf, to really set the mood. Their first and last songs are by far my favourites, but there are gems to be found throughout the set. Their third song implements drummer Earl Heath’s electronic pad, starting the song with a cute-sounding military march (though I know that doesn’t make any sense). Both Aylon Cohen on the bass and Matt Munro on guitar use their fingers to play along the necks of their instruments, with hands like spiders crawling up and down.

“Spike Island” is Aylon’s dance number, and I quickly learn why he usually ties his glasses to his head when he plays; he rocks so hard they fly off his face! Dave Cotton, also on guitar, has a great introduction in the fifth song, complimented by more bell sounds from Earl’s electronic pad. This song has alarmed sections in the middle, in keeping with the variety of prog-rock. Dave constantly promises that they’ll be off stage soon, but only because he’s due to play in another band at a different venue immediately following the show. He gets a gold star in multi-tasking. “We’re going to play four more for you, and then get the hell off the stage,” he says first. “Where are we going, Helms Deep?”

The sixth song has a jungle feel in the drums, with a heavy guitar riff from Matt. Dave revisits his old friend the dance floor during this anthemic prog-rock song. He returns to the mic to tell us, “This is the part when you guys can slow dance.” Matt’s guitar sounds like post-rock waves rolling up a sandy beach by starlight. Then comes a brand new songs written by Matt, who opens with complicated guitar and some singing! I really like it, and look forward to hearing it next time. Earl uses the pad to throw in a church bell every now and then, which makes things interesting. I can see how the vocals here are much more palatable than Aylon’s yelling, but this only speaks to their variety and range.

Their second last song has a strange circus part in the middle, then heavy metal drums with “curious Dave precision guitar fingers” (sometimes the notes I take during the show make no sense to me by the light of day). Aylon rocks some bass and Dave starts his section again. It’s heavy, then tones down as Dave straddles his guitar pedals, Matt takes a step back and Aylon sits on the edge of the stage to play slide bass. They introduce their last song as “a love tune for the ladies,” which is great because the first thing Aylon yells is “Spank me Jensen!” It’s definitely one of my favourites, an epic end to an epic night. I could stargaze to this music, but not keep still in the grass.

For more Seven Nines and Tens, catch them on Friday 19 February at the Purple Crab for the Three Chord Rebel Festival with Hidden Towers and Eeek! They’re also playing on Saturday 27 February at the Princeton Pub with Jakartah and Man Your Horse.

Set List

2. A Concept Record
4. Spike Island
11. Spank Me Jensen

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