Nietzsche's Last Days, Skeptic, The Urban Crime Spree
The Shadow Rooms' weekly FourLive event truly is a breath of fresh air for young citizens of Carrickfergus, putting forth the town as a new hub for showcasing Northern Irish talent.
Things kicked off with post-punk act The Urban Crime Spree. From the beginning the band was plagued by incessant feedback. Things began to pick up with a humorous cover of I Wanna Be Like You from The Jungle Book, but the momentum doesn't last when they perform a song in a reproachable faux-Northern English accent and an average cover of Kings of Leons' Red Morning Light. The redeeming factor of the set was the impressive skills of enthused drummer Paul McCann, who was the fundamental bolt in an otherwise unsteady ship, but it might take more than this for the band to achieve the impact they desire.
Next act Skeptic embarked on what was only their 2nd gig to date. Claiming to draw influence from "the greatest musicians to have walked on this earth", the young 4-piece treated the audience to a short set of Zappa influenced rock.
The front man and bassist David Wilson seemed very comfortable on the stage and was more than happy to entertain the crowd with goofy onstage antics, allowing the two guitarists flanking either side to scale every inch of their fretboards. Then suddenly, as if out of nowhere, the young bass player's hands began to flicker and bounce over his instrument like a strobe light, blasting out a short sharp display of Les Claypool-esque theatrics, then seamlessly returning to playing simple bass grooves as if it were no big deal. For such a young band, this was a praiseworthy though painfully short performance. With time, these guys could become dangerous.
Carrickfergus 4-piece Nietzsche's Last Days make their way on stage with a surly swagger. Guitarist and vocalist James McCallum teases the audience with discordant feedback before bassist Chris Wilson unleashed the opening bars of the hair-raising Pro-Ana. Upon its thunderous opening bassline and wailing theramins, Nietzsche's Last Days are ready to take hold of the crowd like a boa constrictor.
But it becomes apparent that something isn't right. Perhaps it was nerves over performing their first headline gig, but the two axe-men seemed uncharacteristically detached from the crowd. Suffice to say, their vice grip on the audience did not hold up, and people gradually splintered off, leaving a select few punters paying attention.
The band still delivers each track with acute intensity; as if this is the one part of the day where they will not be messed around with, but ultimately it was excruciating to witness such a talented band go relatively unnoticed by the amply sized crowd.
However something needs to be remembered: The Shadow Rooms is above all, a nightclub. The lion's share of the demographic is there primarily for the cheap liquor; the bands, though an attractive prospect, are arguably inconsequential. The Fourlive event is still in it's infancy, but once it gains further momentum and becomes a more renowned showcase of talent (like TwoStep in the Limelight), it will be an event that will be cherished among the rock community.