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Tubelord, Kasper Rosa, A Northern Light

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ATL | 14:40 UK time, Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Auntie Annies, Belfast
Sunday, 19th September, 2010

Opening tonight, shining their own lights as the house lights go down, are A Northern Light, relative newcomers on the scene, at least in this incarnation. They're a slightly strange bunch of chaps it must be said, with little coherence in their look, but it all comes together to make American tinged uplifting rock and roll. At times sounding like the Blue-collar rock of Bruce Springsteen, before going to Arcade Fire's kitchen sink approach, they're new, and still looking for their sound, but worth checking out their journey.

Axis Of unfortunately have to pull out of this line-up at short notice, so instead we've got a hastily arranged but none-too-shabby set of replacements in Kasper Rosa. From initially being sceptical of the band, their recent form has shown more of a focus on the material, and a maturity in not overplaying. This Version Of The Facts develops through a quiet start, malevolently spreading across everything within earshot, while Scaling Mount Improbable continues the sinister tone through the bewitching and hypnotic lead guitar, before descending into a bad acid trip and a euphoric ending. It's a recurring theme in their work - the rise, the fall, and the redemption amidst the emotional torment - and if they keep it up, they might just find more and more people paying attention.

After a delay caused by their late arrival, Tubelord finally take the stage, by now fetchingly decorated with what appears to be a potted conifer, before proceeding to rattle out some nicely beefed up versions of their recorded material. Moving from Two Door Cinema Club tunefulness to Not Squares eccentricity, all delivered with a jittery punk funk emotional desperation, songs like Your Bed Is Kind Of Frightening possess a sweetness, but enough steel to stop it from being cloying, leaving a feeling of "a dirty good time" (as Skunk Anansie once said). Delving into a recent EP, their growth as songwriters becomes clear as the aggression is tempered and focussed, until they feel the need to let go by abandoning the stage and taking it to the crowd. Maybe not lords, but definitely not tubes...

William Johnston

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