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Sons of Encouragement, Popside Lock, No Matter, Everyday Superheroes

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ATL | 11:34 UK time, Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Sons of Encouragement, Popside Lock, No Matter, Everyday Superheroes
Auntie Annies, Belfast
Wednesday 17th August 2011



There may be no major globe-trotting artist scheduled to play in Auntie Annie’s on Wednesday night, but instead the small crowd which gathers there ends up being treated to a series of great performances from four of Northern Ireland’s own up and coming bands. First up is Sons of Encouragement, a three-piece pop-punk group from Greenisland. They list Ash and Green Day as two of their major influences on Myspace, and both bands can clearly be heard in their songs. There is nothing particularly deep about their music, but they play an enjoyable, if rather short set, and show themselves to have a warm, slightly bonkers stage presence.

Representing Magheralin, Popside Lock is up next. A five piece band, they somehow manage to fit onto the small corner stage, with blond lead singer Cathy Briggs standing a couple of feet in front of her gruffer looking male bandmates. Her softer vocals offer something of a contrast to the often heavy backing. However, she manages to make it work and some of the guitar playing which accompanies her is of truly excellent quality. The band blitz their way through a fairly short set without offering the crowd too much interaction, but everyone seems to enjoy it.

As they scramble off the stage, it’s the turn of Belfast based No Matter to play. As they start their set, lead singer Dan jokes about how the three of them are all pushing thirty, but still getting together to play pop-punk. However, they really don’t have anything to be ashamed about, playing a fun set of catchy tracks, usually based around some nice guitar riffs and Dan’s chanting vocals. Like Sons of Encouragement, there’s something almost Green Day-esque about them. They also have a very good stage presence and manage to get the small crowd laughing more than once before they play their final song.

It’s then left to headliners Everyday Superheroes to close the gig. A four-piece from Lisburn, they describe their sound as a mix of powerpop and rock, and unlike the other three groups, the focus of Everyday Superheroes’ music seems to be very much on the vocals. Lead singer Frances Mitchell has a lovely, almost sultry voice, which dominates every song they play. She doesn’t get a note wrong, although she could perhaps do with moving about a little more on stage, standing almost completely still in front of the mic for most of the set.

However, that’s only a small complaint about an otherwise very competent performance, and the crowd certainly seems to enjoy all of their rocky, emotive songs. When they finish playing their final track, the audience is clearly sad to see them go.

Although the gig may not have attracted a huge crowd, it’s definitely been a good night, showing that our small, rainy country has plenty to offer in terms of musical talent.   

Robyn Scott


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