Animal Disco Review...
There are a few telltale signs that you have made it as a band in Northern Ireland, and Cashier No.9's Friday night stint at Animal Disco had them all. A packed venue peppered with a veritable who's who of local music: Check.
A singalong crowd dancing like it's 1999 in Middle America: Check. A bald dude in a suit shimmying seductively across the dance floor? Um, whatever floats your boat, Belfast...
There is an unmistakable air of celebration at Auntie Annies tonight, and for good reason. Today sees the release of the Goldstar EP, and the band are (presumably) still buzzing off the back of signing to Bella Union Records.
The night kicks off with purpose, as the driving drums of '42 West Avenue' give way to pitch perfect harmonious oohs and aaahs, plus a bit of the old synth whistle. It's tambourine-shaking, foot-stomping, jangly Americana-soaked quality, and the crowd is loving it.
Next up is the EP's title track 'Goldstar', one of the more middle of the road numbers in the Cashier arsenal. Which is by no means a bad thing - it sounds like the Everly Brothers have been kidnapped by Bruce Springsteen and forced to play in a random pub in Belfast. And that's an experience everyone should have at least once in their lives.
The upbeat mood carries through the set, from the downright cheery 'Lost At Sea' to the psychedelic musings in 'Oh Pity', before which front man Daniel Todd offers a free CD for the best heckle from the audience. It's a welcome bit of banter from the band, who up to this point have looked more like they're solving maths problems than playing uplifting music to an uplifted audience. Whether that's because the set is dictated by the detailed, and at times slightly overpowering, backing track, is anyone's guess. But there are times when you wish the lads would just loosen up and try to enjoy themselves as much as everyone else is.
The set takes a mellow turn in the middle, with the slow drawl of 'Good Human', 'To Make You Feel Better', and the anthemic chant-fest 'The Lighthouse Will Lead You Out' building to the inevitable crescendo. No Daniel, it's not Black Betty, but with a song as perfect as 'When Jackie Shone' in your collection, why would you want it to be? As the opening strains of the track kick off, the crowd works itself into a suitable frenzy, shouting back a cacophony of wooo-wooo's at the stage and basking in the rootsy whiskey-soaked ambience that has possessed Animal Disco for these few minutes.
And finally the gig slides into the last psychedelic waltz that is 'Goodbye Friend', complete with nothing less than a fupping recorder freak-out solo. It wasn't a perfect gig - sometimes too controlled for its own good, sometimes lacking in a strong narrative voice from its front man, but ultimately a trippy high of an experience. Ultimately, that's all anyone wants from a gig. And as always, Cashier No.9 delivers.