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Live review
Coda, Firefly, Altar Ego
Tonight's the night for another release from local faves Coda, one of the city's leading lights in terms of purveying great music, all under the guise of a good night out in Auntie Annies.

Opening up are Altar Ego, self confessed Christian rock - no don't run away, give them a chance. Once you get past the idea that the big guy with a beard can be something other than a target, then you realise that these guys make cracking wee music, somewhere between Bloc Party's rhythms and The Thrills' summery melodies, with a hint of Foy Vance in there as well. 'Out Of Nothing' is brutally and catchily tight, while at the other end of the scale, 'Why Can't I' is a song Damien Rice forgot to claim. Who says the devil has all the best tunes?

Anyway, moving onto something heavier, Firefly are your more typical old-fashioned grunge three-piece. It's your straight forward, and rather straight-laced, heavy grunge rock with your usual suspects as influences - Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Pixies, and Bob Mould. 'Different Days' and 'Just For You' would fit perfectly onto your generic mp3 player for little buzzes of something, but it's not going anywhere until 'Let's Pretend' which is a great lost grunge classic - it's poppy, it's catchy, it's heavy, it's grunge. Coupled with 'My Way', with its glorious spiralling droning Josh Homme guitar, this is a double whammy to grab you, and should condemn their closing Nirvana cover to the setlist dustbin - you don't need it lads.

Launching tonight is the latest Coda EP, 'Burn The Wire'. If you don't know Coda, then I recommend you get yourself along to one of their gigs - it's cracking alternative/rock music and tunes that master that most difficult of balancing acts - mainstream v credibility, scoring highly on both counts. Even technical hitches cannot stop them, merely providing momentary light rhythm section relief. Ms Shawe's vocals and stage presence bare comparison with Brody Dalle and PJ Harvey, and the duel guitar attack is what Tim Wheeler, among others, has dreamed of doing for years, but never been able to achieve. Musically, it's hit after hit of grungy alternative melodic rock-punk-pop, with highlights all over the place - 'End Of The Line', 'Burn The Wire' (which burns its way into your skull) and 'Let's Digress' are all fantastic, and worthy of a bigger stage than this. It's always great to see a band grow as these guys have over the last couple of years, and it's at the point now where it should be an album rather than an EP. A coda itself is an afterthought or an addition - these guys are the main event.

William Johnston

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Gig Details
Venue: Auntie Annies
Location: Belfast
Date: 12/6/2007

Line Up
Altar Ego

Related Links
+ Coda (official)
+ Coda (myspace)
+ Firefly (official)
+ Firefly (myspace)