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Live review...
Rams' Pocket Radio, Silhouette
Radios are good inventions. For a start (shameless plug alert), it's a way to listen to ATL (other listening methods are available). Secondly, if they hadn't been invented, it might mean that Rams' Pocket Radio didn't exist, and I wouldn't like to say which would be worse. Would this mean we don't have the musical brilliance of Peter McAuley's wonderfully named musical project, or would it result in the non-existence of ATL... meaning this wouldn't be being written�which leads into some sort of meta-philosophical debate, and it's a Bank Holiday weekend, and there's some good music to enjoy.

So, head-twisters aside, on with the show. Silhouette is our opening act, and also probably the busiest person here tonight, doubling up as part of the live Rams' experience. Performing solo rather than with her band doesn't diminish the power of the music though, as 'Watching The Stars' rams home its insistent repetitive chords. 'Little Voices' is surely a misnomer, for Shauna's defiant and confident vocal strength recalls Tori Amos, and contrasts with her needlessly nervous between song manner. Once she starts playing though, the inner switch is tripped and she, and her voice, grow before our eyes. There's nothing shadowy about the potential here.

Now RPR (not to be confused with the other many acronyms locally), have been quietly getting a bit of a buzz, and its easy to see why. Eschewing the usual band set-up, the piano is brought front and centre, and guitar is used more like bass, providing rhythm and foundations for the rest of the band. In an echo of how Joy Division and New Order redefined the use of the bass guitar, the guitar is re-contextualised, becoming a very different beast. Continuing the comparison, just as the unassuming Ian Curtis worked himself into a dervish, so Peter McAulety defies the restrictions of being seated behind the piano to hammer out a melodic, poppy, industrial cacophony, at one point battering the microphone so hard that he literally bleeds for his music.  

'Little Bit of Rhythm' is industrial at its sparsest, heavy but clean, while 'Love Is A Bitter Thing' transforms from a piano and vocal arrangement into a tumult of noise whilst the rest of the band try to catch up. 'Teach You A Thing Or Two' spits out Aphex beats, while single 'Dieter Rams' Got The Pocket Radios' is marginally less chaotic, but almost operatic in scale.

It may be a cliche, but it is a genuine shame when it ends.

"Dance to the radio", indeed.

William Johnston

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Gig Details
Venue: Aunt Annies
Location: Belfast
Date: 30/4/2010

+ Rams' Pocket Radio @ ATL

Related Links
+ Rams' Pocket Radio
+ Silhouette