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Live review...
Oppenheimer, Skibunny, Nakatomi Towers
The men wore ties, the women brought tissues and the bar was solace for a few heartbroken individuals - for all intents and purposes, this was a musical funeral. Few funerals are as upbeat as this concert, however.

Nakatomi Towers brought their disco pop juggernaut to the Spring & Airbrake, delivering catchy tunes, sultry vocals from Julianne Shawe and thumping drum machines. Cut Me Out displays the desire to create unabashed electro pop with more than a passing hint to the classic Funkytown while What You Know reveals that the band are more than one trick ponies. Their sound is based so heavily upon samples and synthesisers that Dave Frecknall's laptop computer seems to be doing an awful lot of work which may detract from the live experience: indeed, the last track featured no live instrumentation at all. All in all, however, it's a very enjoyable performance.

Skibunny were an unknown quantity to this reviewer in a live capacity, and it was very much a case of Jekyll and Hyde. The remixes and DJ nights are countered with the darker and deeper original material written by Tanya et al. Think of the band as the lovechild of a more egalitarian Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Dntel and you're halfway there: a real fusion of throwaway indie rock and electronica, without the costume changes and the Karen O cult. It's rare to see a woman front a local band these days but Tanya's voice is the perfect accompaniment to their unique brand of electro rock. True, the lyrics may not be the most eloquent lines in the world in Walk Don't Walk but Aah Ooh is a gorgeous, haunting tune to say the least. Skibunny have spoken of a forthcoming LP release: this reviewer hopes that it will be released sooner rather than later.

The DJ tried to build anticipation for tonight's final act (REM's It's The End Of The World As We Know It was a nice touch) but it made little difference - this night was all about Oppenheimer from start to finish.

From the gorgeous My Son, The Astronaut to the final track tonight Saturday Looks Bad To Me Oppenheimer gave it their all: songs came alive on stage and put their recorded brethren to shame on almost every occasion, delivering wonderful indie pop numbers in a devastating manner.

Rocky resembled a hyperactive kid, running, jumping and playing every instrument he could lay his hands on or sing into while Shaun's high pitched and vulnerable vocals were more than a match for his dynamic drumming. The Only Goal & Winner is a dreamy shoegaze pop showstopper featuring a synth part that The Who would have been proud of, while Six Blocks gave us an opportunity to see what could have been: Rocky O'Reilly rapping and nearly jumping into the crowd at one point backed by a more edgy and heavy sound than we were used to.

The trademark air-horn was blaring and numerous alcoholic beverages were passed to the stage from various well wishers. This gig was more of a celebration than a goodbye: even Breakfast In NYC was trotted out, one of the most perfect pieces of pop to emerge from this province in the last 10 years. By the final track, the smiles cannot be wiped from the faces of the crowd as they become the backing vocals for Saturday Looks Bad To Me.

You don't just listen to Oppenheimer live - you experience Oppenheimer. The crazy nights, the upbeat pop numbers and the general playful banter between the crowd and the band. The sadness only kicks in when the true meaning of the words "we were Oppenheimer" is realised.

Patrick Kane

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Gig Details
Venue: Spring & Airbrake
Location: Belfast
Date: 19/12/2009

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