The Coronas, Microlip
While Sunday nights in the Empire are usually associated with the bluesy musings of Ken Haddock, tonight it's the turn of Dublin indie-rockers The Coronas to take centre stage. Having already sold out the venue for their Saturday gig here and Derry's Nerve Centre on Friday, the quartet, accompanied by Microlip, ensure the sell out crowd leave happy again tonight.
Portadown five-piece Microlip, boosted by a new set of material and frequent airplay on local radio, sound much more professional and polished than in previous gigs. Without being overly intricate or groundbreaking, each song is sure to get even the most stubborn toe tapping and it's no wonder the crowd are quickly clapping and singing along. New songs ï¿½Silver Lining' and ï¿½You're Not The One' are more progressive than stalwarts such as ï¿½Man of Steel', and illustrate the maturing of the band, a conscious shift in style towards catchy vocal hooks and melodies destined for drive-time radio.
But despite all this, the audience are really only here for one thing, finally appeased by the entrance of tonight's headliners, The Coronas. The band is on the last leg of their tour and it's as much a celebration as it is a performance. Every chorus is screamed back at front man Danny O'Reilly and vociferously cheered by the ecstatic crowd. Their indie-rock label is well earned with echoes of The View and The Libertines, but O'Reilly's transfer from guitar to keyboards adds a new dimension to the sound. ï¿½What You Think You Know' stands out in a strong set, boasting a riff of the purest blues driven by lead guitar man Dave Mc Phillips, showing that there's more to the band than the typical indie-rock outfit. By the time cries for an encore are answered , The Coronas leave the stage to rapturous applause, having not only satisfied their own fans, but also converted the minority in the Empire less familiar with their music before tonight's gig.
Overall an excellent evening's entertainment and proof that in the blizzard of post-rock and electronic shoe-gazing, there's still a place for unadulterated, radio friendly pop and indie rock of the highest standards.