Michael Moloney's slight and gangling frame is home to the heaviest of hearts. Bitter-sweet tales sting the lips of the Director frontman; my goodness the young fellow's met a few bad women in his short life. The songs are of the bleary-eyed, bedsit indie variety. 'Standing In My Way' trades in the tear-stained currency of Eighties practitioners Felt and, of course The Smiths.
Elsewhere there are the slightest of art-rock daubs, with 'Reconnect' firing our remembrance of the stylised gestures of Talking Heads and The Associates. Their musical magpie-ism, the crafty snatch of this or that sound means that Director, though a fine outfit, seem altogether too familiar, not yet the sonic auteur they aspire to be.
"Ooooh ooooh darlin', who needs love?" Not Johnny Borrell that's for sure. Sashaying across the stage, buoyed on self-belief and the victim of his own superiority complex, Borrell is narcissus incarnate. In short, everything we could hope for from a rock frontman. At times his braggart persona, the white garbed rock messiah shtick has threatened to overwhelm Razorlight, the band become a vehicle for his mammoth ego, but tonight bigmouth does what he does best, belts out those songs.
More than merely well crafted, there is real spirit and vigour to Razorlight's music; from the drum intro of 'In The Morning' to the final note of 'America' the set is as taut and rippling as Borrell's torso. Yes, mid-performance he conveniently manages to lose his top. Undeterred by their singer's brazen moob flashing antics, the band kick out all the hits, a snarling 'Golden Touch' and defiant 'Hold On', find particular favour with the Waterfront audience, the playing pristine and beautifully weighted.
Throughout Borrell struts and pouts, giving it a bit of Jagger lip and some Iggy pecs appeal, the punters love it. He clambers onboard some speakers to serenade the balcony, then hops down to glad hand the front rows during a rousing 'Stumble & Fall'. The cursory, "hello Belfast" aside, banter is kept to a strict minimum. No bad thing, perhaps, at last, Borrell has realised that Razorlight's music makes his point more eloquently than a thousand brash boasts.
Photos by Alan Maguire