A Plastic Rose at Animal Disco
Auntie Annies, Belfast
Friday 30th September 2011
Tonight closes an old chapter and opens a new one in the A Plastic Rose story. Not only is this gig going to be recorded and burned onto CD before Auntie Annie's closes, it is most probably going to be the last time A Plastic Rose play many of the songs on tonight's set list. There's a huge crowd upstairs in Animal Disco tonight and you can understand why, this band have created a huge following since their formation in 2006 and the opportunity to be part of their history on a live CD could end up being one of those, “I was there” moments.
A Plastic Rose open proceedings with a real oldie called 'My Avalanche' off their first self released EP entitled 'Five Second Stare', you can tell the crowd is full of die hard fans as they know every single word and the enthusiasm of the crowd only spurs on the bands already energetic and exciting performance. The boys then break into something a bit harder off their latest release 'The Promise Notes', with guitarist and co-frontman Ian McHugh taking lead vocals for 'The Metal Man'.
Some of the bands most passionate performances are when the main focus is on Ian, as he gives his all on stage and you feel that the words coming out of his mouth really mean something to him. A Plastic Rose show us that they're not just one of the friendliest bands in Northern Ireland but that they are also one of the most down to earth bands too as Ian asks everyone to film this song with their smartphones to make a video out of later and adds, “if you have a rubbish [phone] like me then it's alright.”
If there's one thing A Plastic Rose can do it's work the crowd, at this point we are now the “APR Choir”, and lead vocalist Gerry Norman is our conductor. As he makes sure we are pitch perfect and does a couple of practices with us he finally announces that it's time for the real deal, he counts us in to 'Oceans' and the place erupts. You can barely hear Gerry over the singing of the crowd and the non stop rhythmic clapping, 'Oceans' soars in a way not too often heard in Animal Disco and is the band at it's best; it's epic, bold and bigger than life.
It's sad to think that some of these songs won't make it on to their full length debut album but it should also be noted that some songs are also best left in the past, songs like 'Indian Sheets' feel like filler now compared to the quality of the songs they are writing now, but in an unplanned encore we are reminded why A Plastic Rose are the band they are today, finishing up with 'Kids Don't Behave Like This' and somehow provoking an even bigger reaction than that of 'Oceans'. You haven't truly experienced A Plastic Rose until you've seen them live at midnight.
James J Magill