The Good Fight, Disconnect 4, Future Chaser
Even on a frosty night such as this, the temptation of free music was just alluring enough for me to brave the harsh climate.
First on the bill is Derry 4-piece Future Chaser. The sprightly bunch clearly enjoys being on the stage, but their music fails to turn many heads. The highlight of their set comes in the form of their current single "Chances", whose summery licks contrast the icy elements outside. Things sadly do not maintain this momentum: a bold, but flawed rendition of R.E.M.'s 'It's The End of the World' sees the set begin to slump, and the band are relatively ignored by the crowd, only greeted with an occasional smattering of applause. It seems like Future Chaser will be in pursuit of a steady Belfast following for some time to come.
Up next is new wave act Disconnect 4, a band from Galway who have set up camp in Belfast for tonight. As photogenic as The Smashing Pumpkins, it's hard to take ones eyes off of them, and they come in tow with a big sound, much akin to The Killers and The Cure. Starry synths and sonic guitar licks intertwine and swell to fill every space in the room, and are catapulted along by a percussive locomotive courtesy of drummer Keith McCafferty.
Though as charismatic as the front man is, he has clearly studied the stage presence of Ian Curtis and Brandon Flowers, but can't quite choose which persona to adopt. It's like watching a television set with a poor reception; the image shifts between the two.
To contrast the vast sound of Disconnect 4, The Good Fight hit the stage and they deliver their own brand of soothing languid pop. The open up with the ghostly 'Kickstart,' which has a hypnotic effect on the audience, and the band maintains their undivided attention as play through a soothing set of crystal clean, radio friendly rock.
Each song demonstrates the frontman Ben Robinson's diverse vocal capabilities; from heart rendering falsetto to tempestuous wails, all delivered with a vulnerable, glass eyed honesty: he sings like he means it. All the while, the rhythm section serves as the carbon rod that provides a robust support for an otherwise very delicate sound.
With such an honest and tight performance, it isn't any wonder why The Good Fight's following continues to grow. There's no overinflated ego in this band, which leaves plenty of room for the crowd to be part of their spectacle.