Glasgow Barrowland Ballroom
A sell-out audience at Glasgow's best live venue is probably the largest crowd that Geneva have ever played in front of. Admittedly, this was due to them being the support band for New Indie Kids On The Block Mansun, but nevertheless, Andrew Montgomery and his band of tunesmiths succeeded in holding a vast number of people in their hands, with their shimmering and sweepingly romantic music. Not quite choirs of angels weeping amidst crystalline strings and primal rhythms, but not more than a few millimeters from far off.
Starting with the interstellar "Into The Blue", their biggest hit (before that very evening placed "Tranquillizer" in the charts), Geneva proceeded to unveil their wares: kaleidoscopic guitar backing Andrew's distinctive and rich choirboy vocals. With two guitarists and a bass-player, Geneva live can conjure some quite exquisite noise with their instruments and a few well-chosen effects pedals. When Andrew's almost unsettling voice comes soaring over the horizon, the band can produce some spine-shivering moments. Songs like the seductive "No One Speaks", "Worry Beads" and new opus "Tranquillizer" all had the desired effect, transporting us to another place; a place filled with passion, glamour, intensity and butterscotch-flavour Angel Delight (well, that's my idea of heaven anyway).
Until you take a close look at Andrew Montgomery. With your eyes shut, you would picture Geneva's lead singer to be some beautiful godlike androgyne, adoring cherubim worshipping at his feet and capable of inducing orgasm with a glance of his heady-lidded eyes. Not a curly-haired junior accountant who looks as though his mother still dresses him. Image isn't everything, but it's at least 50%, and Geneva's singer is sadly lacking in the charisma, style and pin-up stakes. Not an ugly man, he should get someone like Jean Paul "heelo my leetle chooms" Gaultier in to give him a makeover: to turn him into the equal of a Brett or a Damon or a Kurt (even a Liam) - i.e. someone we can fantasise about; someone that lives up to the lush soundtrack that Geneva provide. Someone that can appear on the front cover of "Smash Hits" and not look as though they should be staring out from "The Economist" instead.
Okay, so I've made my point, but I truly believe the reason Geneva haven't hit the Olympian heights predicted for them is down to their image and (lack of) charisma. Hell, the music is more than up to the mark, evoking all the best feelings you have ever felt when listening to everything from the Pistols to Take That. But until Geneva start to look the part - and this does not involve standing staring into the crowd with the microphone lead dangling between your teeth, Andrew - they will be consigned to the second division, and no amount of glorious pomp rock gems will change that fact.
Review was Originally featured on the Alternative Music Magazine
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