It was all a bit punk inspired in the Workman’s on Friday night, with a line up for the Bouts 7″ launch including support acts in Girl Band and We Are Losers. Think plenty of guitars rubbing against amps, reverb, screaming vocals and thrashing drums, and you’ll get a sense of what Friday night was all about.
These boys are the personification of a “garage” band – you can imagine their set would be practiced or performed with a similar amount of vigour regardless of the setting, and the small, early crowd on the night didn’t phase the boys in the slightest as they bashed out their set of often vicious punk tunes. Each time, I am absolutely won over by Girl Band – they are raw and unrepentant of their 90′s punk inspiration, and overtones of The Horrors come to mind in songs such as ‘Elastic‘ – one of the highlights of the set – with its low slung vocal lines that roughen up into impassioned and screamed choruses. Another winner for me is the band’s rendition of the Chemical Brothers’ song ‘Hanna‘ – whose introduction is in blocky, high pitched guitar line noises – which I would love to see more of in their set – it adds a splash of unabashed modernity to their otherwise old-school punk sound. There was a strange dichotomy, however, between the performance and the interludes; when the band’s introduction of themselves elicited wolf whistles from the crowd, frontman Dara Kiely responded hesitantly with “well, thats a first – I’m shy…” – hey, wait, really? Keep an eye out for the launch of the next single from these boys, it’s being released on the 10th of April.
We Are Losers
With a Facebook bio that claims “we sound like 4 adults trying to sound like 4 teenagers”, I did wonder what a stage show from We Are Losers would be like. Well, entertaining, frankly. Between Naas-related-in-jokes and easy banter with the crowd, We Are Losers, smashed out their delightfully messy, grungy tunes that brought to mind a mixture of Green Day and The Beach Boys. ‘The Narcissist‘ was amongst the opening tunes, and it epitomizes their sound – rackety guitars, quick fire drums and three-part harmonies that are actually better in real life than on the recordings, in my opinion. Other highlights included the namesake of frontman Gavins’ favorite movie ‘Streetfighter’ – whos’ double layered vocal lines are right up my alley, though I do wonder about the jovially-delivered lyrical content; I reckon there’s more substance behind the easily sung words than you’d first think – will study up and report back. On the night, we were also treated to an impromptu ‘Wedding Singer’ performance, when a “guitar emergency” saw Gavin launch himself onto the space in front of the stage and bounce around with dance moves that brought Carlton from The Fresh Prince to mind. Entertainers, certainly. These guys are also releasing a single towards the end of April. Nice one – I’ll go to that launch party.
Introducing themselves as “both gentlemen and idiots with guitars”, the Bouts boys were clearly in high spirits on Friday, which saw them release their ‘Get Sick / Turn Away’ Double A-Side 7″ in the Workmans’ unforgiving, but all-of-a-sudden-much-fuller main room. One of the title songs off the Split 7″ – ‘Get Sick’ – was one of the first of the set, and opens with a lovely, open guitar line before literally exploding into a noise wave with every instrument kicking in at once, and despite the rather unbecoming lyrical content, it is a great song. Followed up by ‘Barbs’ which I love for its guitars-that-sound-like-motor-cars appeal, the songs were interspersed with “witty, witty banter” or at least, those exact words were spoken, which is something similar I suppose! The set also included a new tune – which had a bouncy 90′s rock appeal, before banging into an all-instrumental chorus, outlined by an almost whispered “I won’t buy” lyric line. It’s great, although apparently “terrifying” to play seeing as it was a “virgin” song. One of the final songs – another on the 7″ – ‘Turn Away’ – which has a brand spanking new accompanying video, which you can check out here – even won me a new friend, in the shape of a snappily dressed older gent that was bouncing effervescently to the band’s tunes, so much so, I could only assume be “belonged” to one of the band members, which apparently, he did not, but he had a good time nonetheless. It was a great showing of a Friday night, and if you missed it you can still catch the tunes on the Bouts bandcamp here. or catch them on their upcoming Irish tour, details of which can be found here.
The Maccabees / We Cut Corners - In Review
March 3, 2012
Despite the sad-looking refreshment-denying hoods on the taps of the bar in the Academy for this over 14s gig, there was no doubt in my mind that the night was going to be a good one and even with my high expectations, I wasn’t disappointed.
As the Maccabees took to the stage, the temperature rose exponentially with anticipation and the crowd reciprocated their arrival by peeling of the layers of clothes they had put on to, in many cases, run across to the Twisted Pepper next door to grab a quick (alcoholic) drink between bands. ‘Child’ – a track off the Maccabees newly released Given To The Wild album – was the opening gambit for the band, enticing an already game crowd into a bouncing frenzy. Their set constantly fluctuates between singular vocal or guitar lines that rise into blaring, cacophonous soundscapes, pitch-perfect to the recorded versions on the albums. ‘Glimmer’ was a great performance, a gorgeous synth/piano line introduction with nuanced, David Lynch-esque noises balancing sincere and beautiful vocal lines, which were just about heard above the harmonies of the crowd. The band, on what was the first night of a tour that will span thirteen dates around the UK and Ireland, suggested that they felt a touch rusty, though you’d never have guessed it, given the performance of a mix of songs spanning their discography. ‘Grew Up At Midnight’ was the closing track of what turned out to be a three song encore (which I always feel slightly defeats the purpose of an ‘encore’) which initially I thought to be an odd choice, but the sonic intensity at the end of the song proved me damn wrong on that opinion. The whole show was an absolute blinder – the sweaty crowd leaving the building a testament to the great performances by both acts, the only even slightly disgruntled attendee being the bouncer who was often wrestling to get revellers down off the shoulders of others.
Sarah O’ Neill
Photos by Gareth Sharkey.
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.