Cooper Temple Clause, Mojo Fury
On record the Cooper's new material has been criticsed as weaker than previous releases, receiving mixed reviews from both critics and punters. The direction has moved from experimental rock to a more mainstream, accessible sound.
Some have gone as far as saying the band have sold out, making a fickle indie album with an alternative edge. Tonight will see these new tunes put to the test.
Before the Sactuary-signed Wokingham five-piece get started, however, there is a support slot to fill, and this comes courtesy of mojoFURY, the Belfast-based three piece. Since their inception in 2004 mojoFURY has supported some pretty sizeable names, and it's plain to see why.
They've managed to fuse catchy guitar riffs reminiscent of bands like At The Drive In and The Mars Volta with grungy basslines evocative of Nirvana; all to time signatures as intricate and irregular as something penned by Simon Neale. And they've done it well.
There's little time for niceties tonight. After Lyttle offers a nonchalant "What's the craic?", it's straight into a whirlwind set which lasts little more than a half hour, playing a mixture of new tunes like Pill Pigeon with older material like Pretend We're Not Robots. The set closes with the jaw-dropping What A Secret, by which time mojoFURY have drawn a considerable number of the wall-hugging scene kids to the front of the stage. Northern Ireland hasn't seen a band which plays with such volatility and conviction since Therapy? Anyone who says a drummer cannot front a band is mistaken. It works. In the words of Lemar, if there's any justice in the world, mojoFURY won't remain unsigned for too much longer.
Considering The Cooper Temple Clause remains a relatively underground band, it's a surprise to see so many people turn out for tonight's gig. By the time Bellamy and his band take to the tiny stage in the corner of this dimly lit venue, the room is nearing full. So after unleashing some new tune its clear the early skepticism was misplaced. Tracks like Damage and Homo Sapiens stand up against material from the first two albums in a live context, and judging from reactions, tonight's crowd seem to think so too.
Head is conjures up memories of that scene from Jurassic Park when the puddles of rainwater start to pulsate as the T-Rex approaches; the bass is so fat you don't just hear it, your eyebrows begin to bounce like a graphic equalizer. Old favourites like Blind Pilots and Film-maker go down well too. Some of the more inebriated members of tonight's audience jump around in an attempt to instigate a moshpit of sorts, but it's just not happening.
Fickle? Indie? Good one...
Photos by Alan Maguire - www.livemusicpics.com
Read William Johnston's review of the gig