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Annapurna - Auntie Annies, Belfast

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ATL | 15:32 UK time, Monday, 9 April 2012


Annapurna,  Silent Front, Love Among The Mannequins 
Auntie Annies, Belfast
Thursday 5th April 2012

Brighton four-piece Love Among The Mannequins are the first band of the night on-stage in Belfasts Auntie Annies, introducing the show with some help from a vintage film reel projected onto the band’s bass drum. It’s a messy start and as much as you’d love the bands distorted, disjointed sound to be a part of the act, overall it sounds messy for the first few songs as the band seems to struggle to keep in time with one another. It finally takes the third track or so for the band to finally sort themselves out and the audience start to take notice of some genuinely well-crafted songs desperate to clamber out. The distinct English-ness of the vocals can finally be heard and by the final tune, Belfast finally understands what the Mannequins are all about.

It’s a different story for London three piece Silent Front, who have enough energy and stage presence to keep the audience entertained, never mind the music. Bass player Russ Whitehorn stomps around stage whilst singer/guitarist Phil Mann makes himself heard over the thunderous drums and thick bass-lines, which in Auntie Annies is no easy task. With a musical background of punk and hardcore, their sound is one that keeps the audience guessing. You can’t blame the singer for trying to get the crowd involved, considering most of them have the next day off. Dedicating their final track to the late Jim Marshall, they strike a nerve with the Belfast crowd and their final epic track gets a well-deserved round of applause. Perhaps not getting the crowd response they deserved, they’ve certainly wetted this Northern Irish audiences appetite for more.

As the final act of the evening, local gang Annapurna have a sound that’s difficult to describe, which is a complement of the highest order. A five piece made up of three guitarists, a bassist and a drummer, to class them alongside other wall of sound bands would be an insult. Each musician has the ability to pull away in different directions from one another, yet still synchronise at the drop of a hat absolutely perfectly. Seamlessly switching from melodic, ambient tones to the darkest doomiest depths that metal has to offer,  the audience are constantly guessing, unwilling to take their eyes of the band for one second.

The only criticism would be the very limited vocals from bassist/singer Ross Hunter. Lost amongst the intricacy of the instruments, it makes you wonder that even if they were heard, if there was any need for them in first place. As far as stage presence goes, there’s not a lot of audience interaction, but whenever you’re trying to keep up with the music, there’s really no reason for there to be any. Well-structured songs of epic length and proportion are more than enough to entertain this audience. Technical musicianship at its best, Annapurna may have just returned from a year long hiatus, but after seeing them tonight, their sound is just as fresh, exciting and intriguing as it has ever been.

Leigh Forgie


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