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Live Review
Morning Claws, Third Man Theme, Tom McShane
The intimacy of the venue, like a large lounge and decorated as such, suits the intimacy of Tom McShane's performance.  From a delicate and unaccompanied 'Don't Forget', his subtle performance grows into slow Americana, very much rooted in the rock and roll of 1950s. Like a more melancholy, late night Richard Hawley, McShane shares his gift of story telling and character creation - at least we assume its creative, for this unassuming man doesn't come across as the boxer of 'Fighter'.  

Third Man Theme are a little harder to pigeon-hole.  The Ian Curtis-style vocal and post-punk rhythms of 'Walk Up The Road' bring obvious comparisons with Joy Division, but over the course of their set, The National seems more apt.  Indeed, despite their hints at XX-style electro, it feels more folk in the sparseness and lyrics, recalling Frightened Rabbit being covered by Frankie Goes To Hollywood or Sons & Daughters meeting Sonic Youth.

Now, ATL must confess to having been bribed by Morning Claws: we took some of their baked goodies when proffered. Inevitably the question arises - are they Cutaways 2.0?  In some ways they are, as it's nearly impossible to remove all traces of a previous act, but they've grown up, losing some of the whimsy and quirkiness, but adding a focus.  'Thank God Its True' is ever so slightly spaced out, like a remixed Flaming Lips, whilst 'Violet' shows a bleakness that wasn't present before in its electro maturity.  The quirks can't all be removed though, as their closing number (and new single) is gloriously squelchy, the fun still lurking beneath the surface.

Morning hasn't yet broken.

William Johnston

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Gig Details
Venue: White's Tavern
Location: Belfast
Date: 28/4/2011

Related Links
+ Morning Claws
+ Third Man Theme
+ Tom McShane