Fresh out of the studio with loads of new material to show off are Belfast’s Pleasure Beach. The four piece rock outfit spent last year gracing Ireland’s radiowaves with their stadium rock hit ‘Go’ and making a solid name for themselves in venues and festivals across the country. With a small but absorbing repertoire they solidified themselves as a band worth listening to and certainly worth seeing live. Having supported acts such as The Vaccines, The Coronas and most recently Bell X1, Pleasure Beach have done a lot since forming only 2 years ago.
Now they’re back with new music, unleashing it on the tour of their newest single ‘Burning Up’, hitting up Galway’s Roisin Dubh along the way. The night kicks off with support act Beauty Sleep, also from Belfast, who swoon a demure and ever-building crowd with their electro-pop beats. By the end of their bass-driven set, the crowd – now with two or three drinks in them – have edged closer and cheer as they finish on literally, a high note.
With a short delay in setting up, the crowd now chatty and a little antsy, waits for the main act to take the stage and begin the long awaited show. A fluorescent blue spotlight illuminates the mic and sure enough, Pleasure Beach emerge, launching straight into new track ‘Sorry as We Want’. The frontman and all-round rockstar Alan Haslam dons a sparkly, glam-rock blazer which only adds to his stage persona. From the very moment he walks on stage, the crowd is rewarded for patiently waiting with his stellar performance. Pleasure Beach don’t just write great music, they know how to perform and produce an entertaining, engaging show.
What follows the opening track is 2016 hit ‘Dreamer to the Dawn’ where Haslam’s vocals get a chance to serenade the audience, along with the subtle but effective harmonies from the rest of the band. Next is a flurry of new material the crowd will undoubtedly be singing along to next time round until we’re reassured ‘the old time favourite Pleasure Beach party songs’ are on their way.
The Belfast indie-rockers have not only expanded on their catalogue of songs, but have become impressively tight as an ensemble. Although Haslam does undoubtedly steal the show with his encapsulating and energetic stage presence, it’s not without a steady backing on drums, synth and keyboards. In fact, sometimes the melodies on keyboard are so get-stuck-in-your-head-all-night addictive that they almost overshadow Alan and his sparkly blazer. Almost.
They deliver ‘Go’ and the crowd takes off. An excitable bunch at the front slightly spilling their drinks as they shake to the indie-rock perfection. The whole room is filled with energy as finally, we can all sing along. Haslam throws himself all over the stage, even knocking the mic over behind him at one point. This doesn’t shake his performance however, as lead singer of Beauty Sleep comes to the rescue and props it back into place – the ultimate support act.
After confessing their love for the Roisin Dubh – the venue they’ve played most, this gig being their fourth – they take a bow and leave the stage to a loop of guitar feedback. The crowd, not accepting this as the end, urge for more and indeed, we get an encore. Surely they were always going to play ‘Hayley’ and ‘Magic Mountain’? The encore finishes the night leaving the crowd giddy on beer and guitar solo with the words to ‘Magic Mountain’ resonating all night long. The crowd begins to disperse, as Pleasure Beach have surely left their mark. If they’ve proved anything it’s that they are only going to get bigger. Their ambition, energy and presence clearly belong on bigger stages where we will no doubt see them in the months to come.
Pleasure Beach photographed for State by Kieran Frost.