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Third Man Theme / Charles Hurts / The Monotonous Tone at The Menagerie

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ATL | 12:56 UK time, Tuesday, 29 November 2011


Charles Hurts kick off the with 'The Wave', the bass driven and mysterious duo of Philip Quinn and Steven Henry echoing the style and demeanour of acts like Joy Division in this pressure building effort, which eventually climaxes in some lustful guitar strumming.

Throughout their set the soaring, smooth yet temperate vocals of Quinn have a profound effect on the crowd; a very reserved band on stage they almost seem afraid at times to say thank you, but this doesn't detract from the performance, if anything adding to the enigmatic aura that surrounds them.

As we come to the end of their set, they catch us off guard with a joyful, brooding number called 'Fuss Gang', which translated from German means “Footpath”. A minimalistic song, 'Fuss Gang' sounds like something written from the heart, and you wonder how this two-piece from Belfast can make such a beautiful and heartbreaking noise.

Up next are The Monotonous Tone, a band that seem to have just stepped out of a time machine. They wear glittery feather boas, 60s clothing and sunglasses your grandmother would probably wear. It's a simple sort of rock, but it's not very exciting - in fact it's barely note worthy at all. They scream and yell their way through their set, occasionally guldering, “We are the monotonous tone”, well they've sure got that right.

We've got to a stage in the night where it feels like they've one song on loop, they decide to finish up with a song called 'Miss Brown' and people are clapping them off a good minute before their set ends. Despite their flair on stage, enthusiastic yelping, and sparkling accessories, they fail to make an impact. Led Zeppelin must have been wrong all this time, all that glitters is not gold.

Tonight's main act is Third Man Theme, and as the band begins with 'Red Legged Honey Creeper' a small fan-base huddles up around the front of the stage. The band are only one song in and are already covered in sweat, but they keep going with 'Hepworth and Hapaska', a rhythmic clapping introduction leading into some experimental chanting. The kraut-pop trio from Belfast stray into math rock territory during the song, drummer Brian playing with a pace and style not too unlike Battles' John Stanier.

Guitarist and vocalist Matthew Rodger announces that the next song is for, “Somebody you love” and finishes the set with 'New Girl'. Slow, majestic and full of power, the looping backing vocals heighten the tension with Matthew ultimately blasting out a bloody roar.

Third Man Theme eventually slow everything down at the end of 'New Girl', decelerating like toys that have just run out of power, but they have used every ounce of electricity in their batteries to produce something striking and different.

James J Magill


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