Gifted Live: runaway GO - Empire, Belfast - 29th March
Gifted Live: runaway GO, PrettyChildBackfire, Ursula Burns, Acoustic Dan
29th March 2012
The famous Empire Music Hall in Belfast has never looked more glamorous as it prepares to launch Gifted Live worldwide through the use of some high-tech equipment and a fair sprinkle of internet magic. Unique unplugged performances by Duke Special, The Answer, VerseChorusVerse, and Katie and the Carnival show off the crème-de-la-crème of the local scene for all the world to see. However the real treat is yet to come for those who’ve made it down especially for the launch of RunawayGo’s brand new EP, with support from Pretty Child Backfire.
A short and sweet collection of songs by harpist Ursula Burns demonstrates that not all classical musicians take themselves too seriously. Combining tongue-in-cheek humour with a very eloquent take on Queen’s We Will Rock You, the quirky harpist’s mini set receives both the laughter and applause it deserves, and certainly leaving this audience intrigued enough to want more.
After an introduction worthy of TOTP 2 (because regular TOTP is too mainstream for this alternative scene) Pretty Child Backfire open with the crowd favourite, ‘All the Things Said in the Twilight’. Similar to the likes of General Fiasco, they have a summery sound that compliments the lovely heatwave Belfast has been having lately. The vocals are the only downside, as many of the lyrics from frontman Mark McCallister are muffled amidst the noise of the bar, never mind the catchy tunes being played on stage. However, he makes himself heard when it counts, particularly during the catchy “Oi oi oi” sections that appear in a number of songs, and it’s enough to keep the crowd well entertained for the entire set. As the set draws to a close, McCallister goes from electric to acoustic, finishing with ‘I Wish I Knew You Better.’ Inviting the crowd to join in, they slip away to the steady clapping of the audience, the sounds of their instruments ringing across the venue.
After an entrance fit for festival headline material, RunawayGo get straight down to business, as do the audience. Their sound is reminiscent of current mainstream acts like Snow Patrol and Florence and the Machine, but adding a distinct Irish twang, as well as a slightly heavier edge than their chart-topping counterparts.
Singing, dancing, and even a little headbanging, the crowd tries to keep up with frontman David Jackson who transforms his sheer excitement into pure energy, bouncing around the stage like a true performer should. Their newest single, ‘Electric’, demonstrates the success of the band’s current Youtube campaign as everyone from the packed crowd upfront to the fans on the balcony sing along word for word. It’s a sight and sound that has even the band genuinely blown away.
The singalong cues of ‘Delicate Man’ mean that there is no excuse not to participate. It doesn’t take long before the audience use their own initiative, often clapping along to songs without being prompted by the band themselves. After the obligatory Northern Irish “One more tune” chant, the band play their encore before leaving the stage amidst the sea of clapping hands that fill the venue. RunawayGo may have been performing for many years, under various names, but tonight they truly demonstrated what they’re capable of, deservedly nestling themselves amongst the heavyweights of today's Northern Irish Music Scene.
Words: Leigh Forgie
Photos: Dave Burns