Take It To The Bridge
This summer, festivals seem to be springing up everywhere and as a Banbridge girl I was chuffed to see the launch of Take it to the Bridge happening in my own backyard. Banbridge bands B.O.Y. and My Last Addiction were first up, followed by three piece Strait Laces who performed their new single, Where The Wolf Roam, with an assured almightiness onstage.
From across the water, English band and festival virgins Spectrum 7, who are currently having their album remixed by the same producer as The Futureheads, really gave it their all. This was also true for Max Raptor, who played their hook, line, and sinker tune The Great And The Good.
Hot on their heels was the mega A Plastic Rose, just back from their UK tour with Kasper Rosa, who immediately got into full swing with All You Know And Love Will Die, followed by the beautiful I Can See Oceans. Guitarist Ian really gave it his all on the vocals, and front man Gerry, asked the girls the soul-searching question "Do you like me 'cause I'm in a band or for my personality?" Lol. Gerry also revealed that he had written the massive Kids Don't Behave Like This about drummer Dave's mum.
The sun came out when the Panama Kings stepped onstage especially with drummer Ricky (I've never seen a happier percussionist). After it was announced that Argentina lost 4-0 in the World Cup, the band aptly went into Your Children Are Screaming (no, I'm not bitter). The trio played the riff-tastic Mobilise The Kids, To The City and Skeleton Key with Niall Kennedy letting out an almighty ten second scream.
Making a jibe at the following Stone Roses tribute band they made reference to themselves as the Complete Panama Kings before launching into the contagious I Don't Want To Die. Ending their set with One We Are Many, it's clear the Kings have really mastered their onstage swagger as well as their own distinct sound.
When And So I Watch You From Afar stepped up to the plate they took the crowd to a new musical level. In true Chris Wee fashion, he stripped off before launching his drums into their first song Clench Fists, Grit Teeth... Go! The other three members soon joined him and truly rocked out onstage, bringing the audience along for the ride. From their self-titled album they perfectly executed, Start A Band, If It Ain't Broke... Break It and the magnificent A Little Solidarity.
Guitarist Tony Wright joked that they hadn't quite managed their onstage banter, though to be fair no great loss was felt as their music really does go beyond words. Next up were tunes D Is For Django and K Is For Killing Spree from The Letters EP, before The Voiceless sent guitarist Rory riffing to his knees. Fans hollered on cue during a resounding play of Set Guitars To Kill and after being M.I.A. from Norn Iron since March, Tony said it was great to be back. What's more, after an invincible ten song set, all I can say is the feeling's mutual lads.
Finally getting the laissez-faire onlookers rushing to the stage, The Futureheads jumped into Chaos, followed by Decent Days And Nights. Giving his support to Take it to the Bridge in its first year, lead singer Barry was saluted with the chanting of We Love Roy Keane. Struck Dumb really saw the Sunderland foursome in their element, before they played Meantime from their first album. Their most recent release Heartbeat Song was the next tune to wow the crowd and Barry dedicated it to the three girls they had met backstage. Doing a great job in getting the audience to interact, guitarist Ross invited the crowd to do the bouncy bounce to the song Skip To The End, before introducing what he could only call the "vampire sex song" - Sun Goes Down.
With sky lanterns floating in the night sky, Barry shared an anecdote of how he had nearly set fire to his own house on Christmas Day with a lantern. The anthems I Can Do That and Beginning Of The Twist were banged out by the men in black, before the musicians divided the spectators into cows on the left and giraffes on the right, to help them to sing along to the intro of Hounds Of Love.
Overall the band worked hard onstage, giving the same electrically charged and crisp anthems live, as you would hear on their albums, plus an added spit to the hand, of quintessential Sunderland charm, for good measure.