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Parachutes Over Paris E.P Launch

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ATL | 16:33 UK time, Monday, 6 February 2012


Parachutes Over Paris, The Red Velvetines and Sleep Thieves
The Barge, Belfast 
Friday 3rd of February

The Barge, moored beside the Waterfront Hall on the river Lagan, is sold out and it sure feels like it; we've half an hour to go until the first band comes on and already you can barely move. It's a mixed crowd tonight, family and friends attending in equal measure at this “secret” E.P launch, everyone in great spirits.

Sleep Thieves from Dublin are the first act of the night, a band that have been making ripples in Ireland, but technical problems during most of their set ruin what could have been a great starter to the night. It would honestly be unfair to review them based on this performance as the sound issues didn't seem to be their fault - we were three songs into their set and the sound team were still playing their mp3 player through the main speakers.

When the constant humming and feedback disappear, what we hear is some really endearing electro-pop. Front woman Sorcha Brennan has a voice you could fall in love with over and over again, and she captures your attention with 'Magnetic Heart', a varied and bass driven number that evolves into a most joyful indie-dance chorus.

There’s a big change of direction in the shape of The Red Velvetines, a band from Ballymoney bringing back blues rock. They're your standard four piece band, but there's nothing “standard” about them. If the amorous and sultry vocals of Claire Martin don't knock you for six, then there's the fun loving and reckless drumming of Andrew McCorkell, coupled with the blistering solos of Mark Blair, adequately displayed during 'Bang Bang', a song guaranteed to have you bouncing off the walls.

They quieten things down for 'When You Throw Your Heart Away' a chilled out ballad about “Someone who will always be there for you”, and whilst it's a good choice on paper, the audience seem to be more interested in their noisier side. Nevertheless, it shows they're not a band that only have one gear, and surely there are exciting things ahead for them.

Finally it's time for Parachutes Over Paris, 'Bats' getting their set off to a great start with some tremendous guitar riffs showcasing their less electronic side. Followed by 'Break Barriers Down' from their new E.P The Guiltiness Of Youth, lead vocalist Steven Smith showcasing his unique voice, full of power and sensitivity, sparking a wonderful ‘mobile phones and lighters in the air’ moment.

Their penultimate track is a cover of Kasabian's 'Fire' that gets everybody pumped up for the triumph of a song that is 'Let It All Out'. Brimming with urgency and excitement, it sends the crowd into such a frenzy that the barge must have looked worryingly unstable from the outside.

James J Magill



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