Polar Beyond, Blue Whale, Distracter - White's Tavern, Belfast
Polar Beyond, Blue Whale and Distracter
White’s Tavern, Belfast
Thurs 26th April
It’s not often you go to a gig and are greeted at the door with a plate of tray bakes, but we think it’s something that more bands should do! With our brownies in hand, White’s Tavern doubles up as a substitute for our granny’s house.
First band up this evening are Distracter. A relatively new act, they don’t talk much during the set and come across as endearingly shy onstage. Opening with a song called ‘Blip’, they tell us that it’s the first time their bassist has added his parts to the song outside of practice, but it all comes together well. Their sound is a strange cocktail of electronica, grungy guitars, and mellow vocals, an unusual mix by any means, but when it works, it works really well. Unfortunately it doesn’t always work - timings tend to fluctuate during the set, and on occasion it feels more like three separate musicians onstage than a band. There’s definitely talent there and it’s the beginnings of something really unique, but they need to overcome those nerves and really let themselves go onstage.
There’s a real Portishead influence on their songs, but their final track, a cover of the Posies ‘Solar Sister’, is where they really come into their own with the more upbeat melodies seeming to bring them out of their shell. More of this would definitely be a good idea.
Next up are the hotly tipped Blue Whale, and the best words to describe this set are probably “frantic” and “chaotic”. Instrumental, almost free-form madness, with the quickening pace of a band falling down stairs, the guitars are so fast it actually makes you feel a little anxious. It’s fast paced and actually quite enjoyable, and whilst we’re not sure we could listen to a whole night of it, it really gets the heart racing. Again there’s a slight lack of tightness, but all the bands are fairly new to the stage, so time and more live gigs will see those bumps ironed out.
Tonight is meant to be Polar Beyond’s EP Launch but unfortunately their CDs aren’t ready in time for the show. But, there were cakes so we’ve forgiven them for this indiscretion. Dave from Polar Beyond beautifully describes White’s as being so intimate that it’s “Like that awkward moment just before you kiss someone”. Their sound is delicate at times, like Death Cab for Cutie but tinged with the sadness of bands like Brand New. There’s genuine feeling apparent in their sound, and trembling vocals descend into instrumental sections which would suit a film score perfectly. Songs like ‘Epenephrine’ have much heavier undertones, and it’s an excellent closer for a set filled with atmosphere, leaving us wanting more.