Yes Cadets, The Cast of Cheers, Kowalski
It's been a busy few months for the Northern Irish music scene. Some great new bands have come to the fore, a few have left us, and there's been a raft of great new material released.
So it was to the Stiff Kitten in Belfast for the launch of Yes Cadets latest single 'Lies', another strong offering from the Belfast synth outfit.
Kowalski kicked proceedings off with their trademark summery pop sound. A sparse crowd were treated to the new single 'Take Care, Take Flight' as well as some of the classics like 'Get Back'. But there wasn't really much to write home about from the Bangor lads who didn't seem too comfortable playing so far down the bill. Words like 'pleasant' and 'nice' come to mind, but nothing more.
Next up were Dublin four-piece The Cast Of Cheers. After a very successful, and much hyped (deservedly so, in my opinion) debut Belfast gig earlier in the year, the Dublin robot-rockers were back for more. Kicking the set off with 'Tigerfox' the chorus asked "Is there any [expletive removed] love in here?". And it's safe to say there was.
On 'Chariots', TCOC have proven they don't just play at that one breakneck earth-shattering pace. Songs like 'Strangers' and 'Derp' show intelligence not usually found in this brand of rock and it really is inspiring to see them played in a live environment.
But where the album is tight and almost militaristic, this live performance was sloppy in places. Maybe playing to a crowd which wasn't exclusively their own, or the fatigue of a busy touring schedule were to blame - this probably won't go down as one of their best. But that said, the strength of their music made up for some of these shortcomings.
Yes Cadets bring the night's entertainment to a close and for this reviewer, provide the second gig in a row where there have been sweets for the punters. Drumstick lollipops, parma violets and rainbow drops should be mandatory from now on. Though the less said about Monster Munch the better.
But maybe it was the injection of sugar the gig sorely needed. My glucose high was matched by the energy Yes Cadets put into their edgy, synth-laden performance. This is the sound of Sunset Rubdown meets Hot Hot Heat on songs like 'H.O.T.', 'Charm Offensive', and the infectious 'Rufio'. The new single 'Lies' is a pacey affair and is followed by one of the highlights of the night, a reworked cover of the house classic - 'Rhythm Of The Night'. The night ends with what is fast becoming the Yes Cadets anthem - 'Canada'.
The night finishes on a high, followed by a sugar low as we walked home. More sweets please!