Monday, 9 June 2014

Spectrum Festival// 7th June 2014// Speakeasy, QUB// Review

Photographer: Luke Joyce 
I honestly don't know where to begin - what an astounding night for local talent! I must have been in the Speakeasy for about 8 solid hours, soaked to the skin in sweat and alcohol and the sweet sound of the finest selection of Northern Irish bands gracing my ears.

Tonight we have Go Swim kicking things off, punctually. Their indie roots are carefully fused with a dream-like texture and, although playing to such a small number of people, execute their energy very well, with their dual riffs and female harmonies, serving as the main attraction. Next up we have quartet, Hurdles and although playing no more than three songs, provide an insight to their honest, solid, summery indie works. This band always remind me of Glasgowbury 2013 in which I laid back on the grass soaking up the sun, listening to this wonderfully vibrant band. It is undeniable that their set was much too short, which is a shame. 

Affleck, serving as the third support bill tonight, prove themselves to be the most unique in sound and stature. A frontman with a synthesizer and a violin - why not? It obviously works. The band are quite bass-synth heavy, playing with the experimental and progressive genres, which leads into their trance-like, luminescent setlist. The Late Twos are up next, oozing confidence and pulling the audience to their feet. There are elements of punk incorporated into their music, but settle mainly in the alternative/indie genre and provide an insight into some new material, which goes down a treat.

Simple and deconstructed, New Ancestors enter the stage as a pair who provide a rawness in their music, stripped down to the beautiful bare bones. It isn't long, though, until the other band members join - bringing an even stronger sound into play. The final support of the evening, Kasper Rosa, are the heaviest of the supports. Their sound is heavy and powerful and surging. I noted the fact that the band aren't vocal-heavy, but all the better. To me, it's as though they were channeling And So I Watch You From Afar, however, the band go out of their way to be completely unique. 

The crowd have now formed as every pair of eyes wait patiently for the homecoming of A Plastic Rose
Frontman, Gerry, has been floating about for some time, being greeted graciously and welcomed back by everyone in his path (for those who are unaware, A Plastic Rose now reside in Nottingham.) I've spotted members of other local greats such as Silhouette, Rams' Pocket Radio, Couth, Pretty Child Backfire and all members of Wonder Villains - all here for the same reason, to be spectators to this incredible line up at Spectrum Festival tonight.

A Plastic Rose take to the stage, applauded and hailed by everyone in the room. The princes of Belfast town have come home. "It's fucking great to be home," Gerry cries as the band get stuck into their energy fueled, sweat and alcohol-driven set. Between being the creators of mosh pits and swigging from bottles of buckfast as they dedicate songs to their hometown and people of Belfast, the band then power through tracks, old and new, such as "Oceans" and "This Side of Winter" each making the crowd go as wild as the next. Towards the end, fans are encouraged to whip off their shirts, as followed by the example of our frontman. After diving into the crowd, guitarist Ian is carried gracefully by his adoring (and topless) fans, carried all the way and dropped off appropriately at the front of the bar. I have never seen a homecoming like this before. Absolutely spectacular. 
Photographer: Luke Joyce 

The time has come, the room is now full, it's coming up to midnight and Mojo Fury get stuck into monster tracks such as "Terraform," "Money Body Body Money" and the ever poignant "All in Awe." At some point during the show, someone spills their drink down all the length of my back, and then again on my front - and I couldn't even get mad. The strobe lights were going epileptic, taking me out of my mind for a few minutes. The band powered through older tracks and most tracks from their latest release, "The Difference Between" sending the crowd into a frenzy every time. It's now fifteen minutes until one o'clock - I'm surprised by myself that I'm still standing to be honest - and the band surge into the title track from their newest album. Each and every pair of arms and legs go epileptic along with the lights. 

Just when we think it's all over, the band power through one of my all-time favourite Nirvana songs - "Territorial Pissings" which was beyond words and was the final straw for my poor voice. I don't think I could have asked for a better lineup to demonstrate the passion and the energy of our beloved music scene.

Fair play to the organisers of Spectrum Festival, and roll on 2015! You can see more stunning pictures by Luke Joyce by clicking HERE.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Spectrum NI: The Countdown

So, it's officially less than a week until Spectrum NI this Saturday 7th June in the Speakeasy, QUB. I hope y'all are going. Katie and I will be! I'll be writing a min-review of the gig and Katie will be taking some awesome shots of the band. The full lineup is listed below:

Mojo Fury//A Plastic Rose//Kasper Rosa//New Ancestors//The Late Twos//Affleck//Hurdles//Go Swim

Killer lineup isn't it?! How wonderful to see A Plastic Rose up there, it'll be like a homecoming. I'm hoping to see all you're gorgeous faces there. It's only £12 or £10 for students.

You can get your tickets from Ticketmaster now by clicking HERE and to get more information, head over to Spectrum's official Facebook page by clicking right HERE.

See you there!

Monday, 14 April 2014

REVIEW: Serotonin - Gestures EP

Okay, this is my first review in a while, so excuse me if I’m a little rusty! Today I present to you the awesome Serotonin. With a genre that I can only describe as alternative indie-grunge, they are a young Belfast quintet with an average age of 17 who have recently released their debut EP - Gestures.

First track, and easily my favourite, “Cleanse Me” built on the foundations of a simply effective riff certainly leans itself towards the grungier side of this record. The vocals of frontwoman Lucy Loane hints towards a unique rebellion and remind me vaguely of an edgier Theresa Wayman of Warpaint singing “Love is to Die” and at times even Romily Alice of Japanese Voyeurs, although, she actually sounds nothing like these artists. But this is good; the band is truly unique in sound and stance. The words “Cleanse me, with savlon lips” ring lingeringly through the chorus and will be etched into your mind for days to come.

Exploring what I see to be the melodic-indie side to the band, “Cold Coffee” contains a beat that you’ll find programmed into your system under “tap your foot” or “bop your head”. This is where the infection really begins; it’s so pleasantly catchy. I can picture this song to soundtrack a movie set in suburban New York – I’m not quite sure why. It’s sweetly melodic, but the edge is still evidently there.

The daydream sequence of the melody in “Daytime TV” reveals a distinctive rawness with a sensual blend of chiming guitars and a pounding drum rhythm for an intro. The lilting vocals of Lucy Loane softly unravel “Paralysed in vivid dreams, your phantom limb screams...” and there’s something in the background: a simple melody on a xylophone to emphasise the wonderfully dream-like qualities of this song. It’s a peaceful track to drift in and out of consciousness to, I find.

Finally, “Idle Hands” also possesses some dreamlike qualities, just like its predecessor. However, in saying that there’s a lot of power in this song: In the vocals, in the guitars, the drums. It’s forceful and turbulent. The vocals, especially, are immense. There’s one particular piece of the song which makes you want to throw your fist into the air and start and revolution. Then that riff... Traditional, but completely unique in sound and structure. It really stands out and reminds me of an old 90s record. It makes me believe that, if they keep up the good work, Serotonin will certainly be taken far with their music.

It’s a solid piece of work; especially for a debut EP. If you’re in and around Belfast, I’m pretty sure you can pick up a physical copy of this in Head Records (either that or I was dreaming it?). If not, you can buy it on BANDCAMP. You really ought to. Like come on, even the artwork is fucking class!

Sunday, 13 April 2014

The Revival

Firstly, that had to be done. Secondly, yes I have returned after over a month of not posting and not making the effort to make this blog successful. But, I have good excuses. It's been a really tough couple of months as I've been quite sick and I have had more than my fair share of problems especially the last few weeks - it's been hell to say the least. And although I'm not 'better' as such, I thought I should at least keep this blog going in the hope that it'll make me feel better and feel good.

So, what you can expect over the next few weeks is beyond me - but a review of the awesome Gestures EP by  Belfast alt-indie-grunge rockers Serotonin will be coming up shortly. Get syked!

Sunday, 2 March 2014

New festival alert!

I literally don't know how I haven't heard of this before, but it popped up on twitter, so I decided to do a bit of investigating...

"Eight Artists, One Night, One Venue..."

Spectrum Festival returns this year, for only the second year in June. Last year saw acts such as RunawayGO, Pretty Child Backfire and Hologram play the Black Box in Belfast.

Like I've said - no idea how I haven't heard of this sooner, but sounds like one festival I won't be missing (provided I do not have exams on at the time, which I most likely will but aw well.)

Tune into Across The Line on BBC Radio Ulster Monday 10th March from 8pm to find out more and get syked!

Calling all bands/musicians!

I'm feeling a bit slow this Sunday evening - so I need you to help me out!

If you're a band or musician from the North or South of the country - hit me up. Got a gig coming up? Tell me. Want me to review a song? I'll do it. 

Go to the CONTACT page to email or tweet me if you wanna be on More Than Bullets and Bombs.

What are you waiting for? Come at me bro!

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Album No.2 for More Than Conquerors!

See that little drawing of the guy in the waves in my banner image and the one on the right? That's Kris Platt. He plays in a band called More Than Conquerors. Their label, Smalltown American Records, describe them as "Dynamic Alternative-Punk-Rock Quartet from Belfast, Northern Ireland. For Fans of: Manchester Orchestra, Brand New, Reuben & Twin Atlantic..."

Well, they released a stunning debut record "Everything I've Learnt" in September of last year and set off touring around the UK and Ireland to promote it. Now the band have announced that they are in the midst of album number two! They certainly waste no time - fair play to them! I have no doubts that, despite the fantastic first album, the second is going to be even better.

If, like me, you want to watch their every move, clicking HERE will take you to their Facebook page where you can find more info. Also click HERE to watch/listen to the stunning 'Pits of Old' taken from 'Everything I've Learnt' and was filmed at the Belfast docks at two o'clock in the morning.