Phoenix Fire, The Q, The Cahier Colletion
This evenings Radar showcase had the kind of line up that would have people spending good money to witness. With no door charge, this evening was a treat.
Carrickfergus band The Cahier Collection opens things up in glorious fashion. Complete with hallmark indie whimsy and youthful charisma, they have a cerebral approach that puts them a cut above their indie peers. Front man Neal Cahoon snarls out ascerbic vocals with a world weary cynicism indigenous to The Smiths. Ska influences pop up mid set as Cahoon unleashes the trumpet during 'Tin Bath Writer'.They merit from their hard work as they manage to gain a healthy applause from the crowd. The Cahier Collection are a band to make note of.
Next up is Derry 5-piece The Q. The band have a kaleidoscope of influences, ranging from Jet and The Strokes, as heard on confident opener 'Magpie', and luscious grooves in the same vein as Queens of The Stone Age.
The front man instantly displays his confidence on stage, always engaging with the crowd in between songs. While the vocalist is the showman for the band, it's the bass player who is the unsung hero, see-sawing his T-Bird to and fro while creating mammoth size bass hooks with seeming aplomb. While The Q aren't as arresting as the previous act, they have a bold demeanour that will take them far.
The headline act Phoenix Fire, formerly Kagura, take to the stage, in a bid to re-establish themselves under their new moniker.
The opening bars of 'The Bridge' lulls the crowd into a false sense of security, with acoustic guitar and coy vocals, before the band erupt in a triumphant spectacle of epic pop.
Front man David Jackson has the crowd eating from the palm of his hand, but his ego stays firmly on solid ground and he encourages the crowd to sing along. He dons an infectious grin, as if he realises his dreams are coming true before his very eyes, while he batters his tambourine within an inch of its life.
The vocal duality of Jackson and the glamorous Fiona O'Kane are a showcase in harmonic discipline, as both their voices meld and weave with each other wonderfully, enhanced by skyward guitar licks and prominent bass.
In an uncharacteristic turn, the Radar crowd immediately demand an encore before the band have even left the stage. Humbled, they treat the crowd to another anthem, and are only to happy to do so.
Watching Phoenix Fire is a rare spectacle: they play with sophisticated confidence; they sing with passion; they embrace their audience with humility, and they love every second of it.
As the band shake off the old skin of Kagura, they have sprouted wings.
Photos: Richard Davis