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Amateur Historians - The Menagerie, Belfast

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ATL | 15:40 UK time, Friday, 13 April 2012


Cedric Has A Name, Bouts, Amateur Historians
The Menagerie, Belfast
12th April 2012

There are a few heads around tonight for the local music triple header, and only £3 at the door?! Where would you get it? The Menagerie, that’s where. Chris Steenson, AKA ‘Cedric Has A Name’ is first to the mic. Armed with 2 guitars, a nylon string and a fender and no frills he starts with ‘Empty Avenue’ a song from his upcoming E.P. to mucho applause, after which he mutters "I don’t know why you’re clapping, that was f***ing awful". It was far from it; it was quality and this self-deprecating approach makes it all the more endearing. He’s a handy guitarist and the songs are great, tonight though he’s not getting the order he deserves. His music would be more suited to the quiet and more intense venue
and audience. He does beg comparison to the likes of Elliot Smith or Conor Oberst, but there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s a good thing. He finishes with ‘What We Want’, a harmonic-laden, catchy number from his first E.P. It’s unassuming and humble music at it’s best. We like. With more gigs under his belt and the right venue set-up ‘Cedric Has A Name‘ is destined for good things.

Next to the stage is Dublin-based 4 piece Bouts. They’re all handy players and put on a tight performance. After a strong start, they lose the interest of a few until they launch into ‘Get Sick’, one of their recent double A-side releases. A good, catchy chorus that once again grabs the ears of the Menagerie. Despite a broken string and a couple of lulls in the performance it’s a solid Belfast debut from the Dubs.

Our headliners this evening are local lads Amateur Historians. Their brand of indie pop-punk is why most of the crowd is here this evening. They start with a new song that apparently they’ve only played 3 times before, which doesn’t show. It’s cheeky summer music with plenty of instrumental breaks and choppy changes, the lads are a tight unit, no doubt about it. Sadly the sound isn’t doing them any favours and the vocals are somewhere in the distance. Tonight though that doesn’t really matter, they are playing for a crowd they know and that crowd don’t mind a jot. The band hit the scene in late 2010 so it’s early days but with more gigging you get the feeling it’ll be super-slick. All acts tonight could afford a bit more confidence and conviction, that’s 50% of the performance apparently...ask Mick Jagger. ‘Amateur Historians’ have the home crowd up bopping by the end and you get the feeling that the local music heads will be blasting ‘Amateur Historians’ tunes this summer on the way to Glasgowbury. Hurry up and give us the album lads!

Eamon Murray.



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