Ghost Estates - October Single Launch In Review
Support from White Collar Boy, Bouts & The North Sea.
The Grand Social
White Collar Boy
White Collar Boy had the dubious honor of kicking off the night on friday to a sparse enough, still trying to get home from work and leg it to the pub crowd on Friday night, but they did so in style. Mark Cummins and Gavin White are the twosome that make up White Collar Boy, and they have been a recurring act on bills all around town in the past few months, with their melodious electronic synth noisiness hitting the mark with punters and critics alike. Tonight was no different, the gathering crowd bounced along to the pairs’ quick fire half hour set, through their catalogue of layered, electronic songs, which range from shoegazey (damn i hate that term, even if it is accurate), to syncopated house beats, to full on electronic goodness. The final song “Another Way” in particular was great, all noises and cant-help-but-dance-around beats, ending with a massive wave of distorted noise that literally enveloped everyone in the crowd like a wave of smoke. Mmmmm, distortion. Debut E.P., Solar Midnight, is on the White Collar Bandcamp for free download, but a brand new as-yet-untitled E.P. is also due to be released as a 12” Vinyl on Record Store Day, April 21. The next couple months sees the duo do a few dates around the rest of the country as well, so keep your eyes peeled.
Bouts were the second band to hit the stage and i was anxious to catch them, having only recently realized that their self-titled E.P. is, in fact, really fucking great. (I had had a cursory listen a few months ago, and for shame, had not given it its due). Onstage the four piece are just as tight as their recordings, and they have a nice bit of banter on stage too - always a winner. As a point of musical reference, their sound is a sort of distillation of all the best elements of 90s rock, Weezer meets Soundgarden meets Nirvana, if you will. They played all the lyrically oriented songs on their E.P., including my own personal favorite “We Tried”, as well as knocking out a new song, albeit with I’m-not-sure-we’re-gonna-get-this-right half smiles on all their faces, and it was great to see a band who’s live deliverance of their music diverge slightly from the recordings, keeps it interesting and fresh for both the audience and band. The final song of the night, was notable for its awesomely distorted guitars betwixt with jangles from a bell thing, and elicited a few excited classic rock poses from the bassist, and simultaneous guitar swings at the end of the set. Bouts 7” vinyl has just been pressed, and all you folks out there can get your hands on it very soon, if you’re not so impatient that you just go straight to their bandcamp to check them out!
The North Sea
Despite being a fairly longstanding partner of Ghost Estates at previous shows, this was in fact my first time to see The North Sea (how? I have no idea), but it was great to finally catch the quintet in action. Live, it feels like there are loads of them on stage - i counted about 4 times to make sure there was only five (definitely five, final answer) and they make a lot of noise. Guitar driven, vocal heavy narratives are what these boys do, and do well. “I’ve Seen Everything Now” is a little belter of a tune, that starts with a vulnerable-feeling single guitar line, but escalates quickly to incorporate every instrument onstage as a backdrop to singer Eoin Kenny’s vocals, with some lovely harmonies that for some reason brought a comparison to SquareHead to my mind. If you didn’t catch them this time round, you can head down to Sweeny’s Friday March 3rd, where they will be sharing a stage with The Debutantes, Girl Band and Dot. Alternitively, you can jump on the internet, google The North Sea, and find them on “about page 50, after all the stuff about the ACTUAL North Sea” - their words, not mine! The North Sea are releasing their debut E.P. in April which you can buy if you’re “feeling fond” - god, these Dublin collolquiisms get me every time - but for now you can have a sneak peek at the track “Decay” on their Breaking Tunes page, which was recorded with Ghost Estates own Dan Doherty.
You know its a seriously special night when a paisley shirt and trousers come out to play (Dan Doherty), and it was the launch of Ghost Estates third single “October”, so the outfit was bang on to be fair. The hitherto low key crowd practically launched themselves at the stage as the lads bounced on, clearly in cracking form, and energetic as ever throughout their set. Kicking off with “Winter’s Day”, I was immediately reminded of how much i like these guys live. They are all foot-stomping, wild-eyed ferociousness on stage, the sweat pouring off of them being a testament to that fact! They stormed though their set, highlights being, of course, the epic, building explosion of a song that is “October”, the synthy gorgeousness of “Paris” with its great historical vocal sample, alongside what was to be their closer, “Pop Song”, save for the fact that the insistent crowd chanted for one more tune, to which the boys obliged with a second rendition of the song of the night “October”., much to the bouncers dismay, seeing as they were hurriedly setting about clearing the place out for Noel Gallagher’s after party - damn you Noel Gallagher. The second go-round of the launches namesake song riled the crowd into a bit of a frenzy, with singer Dan bounding out into the audience, a consummate showman.
It was a super launch, with a great buzz between all the bands that were playing on the night. And if the amount of Ghost Estates be-decked punters were anything to go by, damn successful.