Cashier No.9, Elspeth, Connor Kelly
So here we are: Belfast music week is upon us, and it's fair to say it started with a bang. ATL arrives at a packed menagerie just in time to hear Connor Kelly, an artist who cites his influences as David Bowie, Patti Smith and Allen Ginsberg. Kelly is an engaging performer, not afraid to speak his mind and wear his heart on his sleeve. This can lead him into dangerous waters, such as a rant on censorship which borders on libellous, but given that he is a virtuoso pianist, coupled with his strong yet fragile vocals stylings, it makes for an entirely enthralling performance fraught with passion and raw emotion. Definitely one to look out for.
Up next, playing to a slightly diminished crowd, is Elspeth, an extremely tight unit, making use off all available resources, a wide range of dynamic musicianship, and tight vocal harmonies. Suffering from technical difficulties half way through their set, the band are able to regain momentum, returning a lot stronger. Subscribing to a classic school of song writing - slow heartfelt verses leading into massive soaring choruses - it works well for the band, despite not being particularly original. Perhaps one criticism that emerges is the lack of engagement with their audience, stopping between songs to tune guitars and tinker with their instruments, resulting in silence, which was not well received, doing nothing for the bands momentum.
After the classic sound of Elspeth is Belfast golden boys Cashier No.9, who do not disappoint. Opening with Goldstar, which resulted in frenzied foot tapping, clapping, and lots of questionable dancing, the band are extremely well rehearsed, engaging and - most of all - entertaining. Tonight they can do no wrong; with every song being greeted with rapturous applause from an adoring audience, the band are in their element on stage, rattling through their back catalogue with ease. One of the highlights of their set is Look To The Sea, which inspired one merry reveller to exclaim "YEOOOOOOO", which says it all really. Cashier No.9 promote happiness and leave in their wake a satisfied crowd of Monday night revellers. Job well done.