Wexford brothers, Ashley and Brandon Watson, otherwise known as The Ocelots, launch their new EP to an attentive crowd at the Unitarian Church. Starting out as buskers, the band have successfully transitioned into stage performers as they have progressed to playing festivals and venues across Ireland and abroad. With fellow travelling busker Michael Brinkworth on support, the evening is centred around acoustic, stripped back songs.
However, the performers succeed in holding the attention of the audience as they delve into different emotive tracks with varied lyrical content and tempos throughout. With their use of blood harmonies, acoustic guitar and harmonica accompaniment, The Ocelots’ songwriting style is reminiscent of Bob Dylan and Simon & Garfunkel.
During the set they introduce piano and banjo, deviating from their usual line up, which adds a new feel and flavour to the songs. The atmosphere is relaxed and the duo’s personalities shine through as they address the audience between songs. Both brothers are charming and chatty as they share stories of their trials in making music videos and anecdotes from their career thus far.
Ultimately, their personality and sense of humour translates into their performance style and songwriting. It’s clear that the brothers are unapologetically themselves in every aspect of the process. They have spent time honing their craft and a lot of thought and consideration has been put into the set list. Adding authenticity to the overall performance and also serving as a nod to their busking roots, the brothers leave the stage and stand in the aisle amongst the audience to perform unplugged. The song requires audience participation which aids in dissolving any sense of distance between performer and observer, connecting the entire room.
The Ocelots possess a strong back catalogue and a thoroughly entertaining live show. This, coupled with their down-to-earth demeanour makes the duo relatable and with a strong first EP under their belts, it’s clear they have a promising career ahead of them.
The Ocelots photographed by Vicky Cannell