Colenso Parade, Kitty & the Can Openers
In recent weeks, Carrickfergus' prospect of becoming the latest hub for showcasing homegrown talent has been brought into question. Dwindling crowds has put the future of the event on tenterhooks. Thankfully, this evening's turnout put Fourlive back onto the right tracks.
With a band having dropped out, it's up to the 2 remaining acts to entertain the masses.
Acoustic outfit Kitty and the Can Openers seem like an uncharacteristic band to appear in the fluorescent Shadow Rooms. Yet, they are warmly greeted. Wispy vocals courtesy of chanteuse Ciara O'Neill and crystalline folk guitar are evocative of the stylings of Suzanne Vega, and they are as close as you can get to perfect female fronted acoustic pop. Though the bass swamps the sound somewhat, it does little to detract from an otherwise wonderful set. Their songs carry an invigorating, bucolic ambience, as if written in the woods during the crisp autumn months. Though clearly in an environment that doesn't best suit the band's tender sound, they still garner much praise from the crowd.
Headlining act Colenso Parade seem keen to capitalise on their predecessor's momentum. The excitable quartet energetically deliver their own twist on Beatles-esque pop rock; bright-eyed vocal harmonies and ringing guitars are coupled with Phily Taggart's adamant, complex basslines which ricochet through the room, boosting their sound to greater heights.
While the crowd at this point have increased in numbers, they have increased in ignorance. As the quaffing of libations takes its toll, the music becomes nothing more than a background haze for the majority of the audience. Nevertheless, the band soldier on unphased, even engaging in mid-song banter with hecklers.
To cap a great set, the Omagh 4-piece finish off the evening with infectious single 'You're Still Young'.
With their youthful and stirring stage presence, it isn't any wonder why this band's popularity continues to swell throughout the country.
Thanks to the sizeable audience, Fourlive will live to fight another day. But more weighty promotion needs to be introduced in order to pull in a more discerning demographic before the showcase can truly flourish.
Photos: Bernie McAllister