by / September 7th, 2009 /

Dizzee Rascal, Vampire Weekend, Crystal Castles – Belsonic, Belfast

State has not had an overwhelmingly positive start to our day at Belasonic. Due to a sporadically puking taxi driver (he pulled over and chundered all over the pavement) we were forced to miss local boys come good Two Door Cinema Club. We did hear from a few wagging tongues that they were great but unfortunately State do have this one small, tiny, little rule where they have to see the band in order to review them. After this minor set back we arrived a third full Custom House Square just in time to see Crystal Castles. At this point we didn’t think that we would be subjected to anymore vomit tonight but unfortunately we were, we had front row tickets to Crystal Castles live show.

NME and hipster blogger’s have made a lot of the CC gig experience and the band in general and to a certain point we can agree. ‘Crimewave’ tickles our little hipster chin, simply because the synth riff brings back the nostalgia of having a Gameboy cello taped to my pre-pubescent hands the whole way through the late 80’s and early 90’s. However songs like ‘Alice Practice’, which some scribes have refered to as ‘what the Sex Pistol’s were to the 70’s this is to the 00’s,’ sounds more like the anti-paedophile song alarm in Chris Morris’ Brass Eye than a generations call to arms.

Singer (loosely used title) Alice Glass bounced around in that Richey Edwards-esque kind of way, the way he would throw himself manically around the stage and often into the audience, the only difference was he wasn’t plugged in while she was. It was next to impossible to hear anything that was coming out of her mic and when you did it was tuneless tripe. We don’t mean to come across as a fuddy duddy but it would be great if she took another leaf out of Richey’s book and got lost.

Anyway, rant aside the rain beat down on Custom House Square and until now it was aptly reflecting State’s mood. Thankfully the rain subsided for a while and the venue begins to fill up. The anticipation of the next two acts was clearly visible with scores of young groups of mid teens playfully leaping and frolicking. That playful feeling wasn’t going to end anytime with the imminent approach of Vampire Weekend. Their Afro influenced beats and jaunty tales of student life sends a grin like a Chelsea smile on our face. They join us with the main intention of road testing their new album. Normally this can be as exciting as a grey day playing find the butter scotch sweet in your deaf Auntie’s house, fortunately for us the new material shares the same ability to hook us, cook us and book us that their debut LP had.

-Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa’ has the kids down the front frantically trying to dance to its broken rhythms and failing miserably in the cutest possible way. The couple behind me continue the debate on what ‘that song of the BBC ad is called’ and how they ‘can’t wait for that song to be played.’ Seemingly, Custom House Square shares the couples sentiments as when the guitar intro to -A-Punk’ begins the place sings the riff and starts to shake the ground with hydraulic pogoing. Their set may have been very reliant on new material but they pull it off with deft aplomb, educating us on how damn fine their next album will be while keeping us happy by wheeling out the hits.

The anticipation is rife and the venue is now full of people dementedly demanding more from Belsonic by cheerfully chanting Dizzee Rascal’s name. Funnily enough we are greeted by Dizzee Rascal doing the same, opening with -Jus’ A Rascal’. From the beginning he has us totally on side. He flits between the credibility of older material such as -Fix Up Look Sharp’ and ‘Where’s Da G’s’ and more recent commercial work. Not a punter bats an eyelid, reason being, everyone is having way too much fun dancing to think about anything else.

Rascal delights with samples of The Ting Ting’s -That’s Not My Name’ and M.I.A’s -Paper Planes’. Using them as intros to tease us into songs -Flex’ and -Sirens’. After he finishes shamelessly stealing the thunder of two genuine indie floor fillers he throws us a triple knockout of Dizzee Rascal floor fillers. -Dance Wiv Me’ tips State’s chin, -Holiday’ swings the fist and -Bonkers’ knocks us out cold with no sign of consciousness coming soon.

Thursday night of Belsonic started cold, wet and miserable and ended cold, wet and rapturous. Tip of the hat Dizzee Rascal, tip of the hat Belsonic.

Photography by Michael Walsh –

  • Kim

    We had the opposite experience. Crystal Castles were genius. Watching Alice Glass was like watching Ian Curtis and Johnny Rotten in one person! Vampire Weekend sounded too much like Paul Simon for my liking, I guess my parents would’ve liked them but they don’t go to shows.

  • Joe

    My god, this is badly written. Does anyone check this stuff before pressing ‘publish’?

  • Joe you are completely right. I wrote this in a stream of consciousness and submitted it straight away. I have since re-written it so it is a tad more readable. The article has been sent through to the moderator and I have asked for it to replace the current diatribe of rubbish.

    It was highly unprofessional and will be the last time I rush an article let alone not proof read it.