Skinny Love Gig Review...
The Cast Of Cheers, Ablespacer, StereoWarFavourites
If you had asked local music aficionados what they were going to do on Wednesday night, most would have replied with one answer: watch The Cast of Cheers. Since releasing their debut album album for free on Bandcamp the Dublin band had gained a surprising amount of buzz from music blogs and traditional media outlets on both sides of the border.
StereoWarFavourites made this reviewer instantly regret his decision not to bring earplugs: within seconds of coming to the stage the band had unleashed a deafening amount of noise upon the audience, but in such a small venue it can be difficult to get volume levels just right. Opener "Catalyst" is strong: it's hardly a singalong but it certainly sticks in the mind. Most tracks are intense and energetic with some great guitar work at the forefront but it has to be said that there seems to be a tendency to let tracks run on for too long - the framework for the songs is there, it just needs a few subtle tweaks. Single "Comet. Sever. Curio" is one for Biffy Clyro fans: a thundering bassline and some decent vocal performances make this the track of the set. With some more hard work in the practice rooms we could see something great come from StereoWarFavourites.
Ablespacer continued their return to the live music scene with a fairly solid set. Their grunge-tinged alternative sound is fairly ominous - Richard van den Bos drums like a man possessed, with constant time changes and unexpected musical shifts within songs. There were so many sudden finishes to songs that the crowd barely knew when to clap. Latest track "Draw A Line" went down fairly well with the crowd, with some nice harmonies thrown into the mix for a refreshing change accompanied by those crashing guitars we've gotten used to. A little more crowd interaction would be nice, but this is probably understandable due to their absence over the past few months. With an almost entirely new set it can take a while for things to click but it's good to see the band back playing again.
After a short performance from the lovely Skp proving once and for all that yes, the Tetris theme type A can be made into a trance anthem, The Cast of Cheers took to the stage. There was an immediate difference between the relatively dark and gloomy tones of Ablespacer and the upbeat danceable tunes of the Dublin band: with a sound reminiscent of a more mainstream Adebisi Shank or Foals there were even a few audience members dancing like their lives depended on it at the front. Tracks like "Tigerfox" document exactly why the band are turning heads on both sides of the border, with Conor screaming out that memorable but sadly unprintable chorus, while we were treated to some insane guitar work in "Auricom" complete with loops and more effects than you can shake a stick at.
Their cover of a Vinny Club track may have given ammunition to their critics but in fairness, it's irrelevant. A superb performance from a band that just want to make their fans dance.