Living:stone, Driving By Night, The Do Rightlys
Whilst the movers and shakers of the local scene maybe be celebrating a certain 21st elsewhere this evening, there are a small core of locals attempting to do something a little different round the corner, at the Spring and Airbrake. Three bands - Living:stone, Driving By Night and The Do Rightlys - are putting on a performance in aid of the Northern Ireland Children's Hospice. Admirable chaps to say the least. The somewhat poor turnout at tonight's gig is forgivable. Competing with an exclusive Ash gathering at one of Belfast's most respected clubs is always difficult.
Living:stone are the first of tonight's entertainers to brave the airy venue. They describe themselves as ï¿½leisure-audio for the modern earï¿½. Or at least that is what is printed on the DIY flyers placed around the room. If you think such a catchline is a little cheesy, then you aren't going to dig this band. But if you are a little more open-minded, then they might just be your cup of tea. They operate tonight as a five-piece, with laptop beats complimented by shredding saxophone solos creating a solid groove.
Sure, they may funk around onstage like an embarrassing dad dancing to an '80s wedding band, but that does nothing to dampen the fact that these guys are masterful in their instrumentation. Drummer Chris McEvoy is notably outstanding. There is no salute to the throwaway indie fad that is so fashionable at the minute, and so common across Belfast. Living:stone know what they are good at, and do it well. Their penultimate tune, ï¿½Angelmoon', easily their best, is at parts evocative of ï¿½Dark Side Of The Moon'. Check them out.
Numero dos on tonight's bill is local veterans Driving By Night. They are so much more than just a memorable name. From the opening of ï¿½Promise In Youth' it's plain to see why they have already supported names like Kings Of Leon and Arctic Monkeys. Their sound is as tight as it is tuneful. It's refreshing to see guitarists McCord and Gordon laugh to each other during the set, and whilst the entire band wears a matching jeans-blazer combo, there is no element of poser-rock here. Neal Hughes has got the whole Julian Casablancas thing going on. Effortlessly cool. But he seems a little lazy tonight, not fully arsed until their last track, ï¿½Bruce Waits', when he lets rip. More of that please. If you haven't already, check them out too.
Following a Phoenix Nights style raffle, the night is wrapped up by funk rockers The Do Rightly's. The crowd is somewhat waning following Driving By Night's departure. Carley and company do not, however, give a damn, and so the trio kick out the jams with a host of bassy old school riffs. ï¿½Mark Spots The X' stands apart from the rest of the set.
It's the end to a valiant effort to raise money and awareness of cause which could not be more worthy. Edward McIlwaine deserves a pat on the back for organising tonight's shindig. The children's hospice provides a respite service, support service and end of life care for special children both in the children's hospice and at home, and the proceeds from tonight's gig go straight to the NICH. Not your typical Friday night.
Oh, and yeah, check out the headliners tooï¿½