We Are Losers @ The Workman’s Club
Day three of HWCH, and We Are Losers kick off proceedings for the OTR -vs- Nialler9 night in The Workman’s Club. We Are Losers is the brainchild of Super Extra Bonus Party guitarist Gavin Elsted, who put together a few tracks and released a free-to-download EP on Bandcamp back in August. Since then the EP has garnered quite a bit of buzz, and tonight marks the first airing of We Are Losers tunes on stage. The We Are Losers live setup is three parts Bonus Party (Elsted, along with Steve Conlan on guitar and Gary Clarke on drums) mixed with one part Grand Pocket Orchestra (Bronwyn Murphy-White on bass) – and what a winning formula it proves to be. Instantly likeable EP tracks ‘The Narcissist’ and ‘Empty Head’ stand out; but overall it’s a solid set from We Are Losers – the kind of debut gig that most new bands might aspire to, but rarely achieve.
Squarehead @ The Workman’s Club
Three piece Dublin ‘garage-pop’ band Squarehead have draw quite a large crowd into the back room of The Workman’s Club in spite of their early set time – and thankfully their performance lives up to the hype which surrounds them. Squarehead have to their credit some incredibly catchy tunes – ‘Fake Blood’, ‘Mother Nurture’, and ‘Cathy’s Clown’ are a treat to listen to live, it’s practically impossible not to get involved with the laid-back rhythms and sway along. The band take advantage of the opportunity to try out some new material, and by the sounds of it a forthcoming Squarehead release is something to very much look forward to indeed.
Grand Pocket Orchestra @ The Mercantile
The fact that Grand Pocket Orchestra’s recently released debut album, The Ice Cream, offers no less than 18 tracks in the space of just over 35 minutes should offer a good indication as to what their live performances might hold. The five-piece Grand Pocket Orchestra make party music, and the crowd who have gathered in The Mercantile this evening are more than willing to embrace it with tracks such as ‘Basketballs’ and ‘Crave The Flesh’ inspiring a mass dance-along. Songs may seem like they’re over before they’ve even begun, but therein lies the magic of this band – every single minute on stage is utilised. Grand Pocket Orchestra are as fun to watch performing as they are to listen to – to see them live is to feel instantly happier. Overall, an energetic and manically giddy performance, and a visual lesson in musical multi-tasking. A festival highlight.
Sounds of System Breakdown @ The Grand Social
It’s impossible to pin a specific musical label onto Sounds of System Breakdown – and this is what makes them so interesting as a band. They have gigged long and hard to build up their profile, and their live set-up continues to honour the intention to ‘take live electronic music out from behind the laptop and truly engage with the audience’. The Dublin trio offer an intriguing quirkiness – there’s a constant element of surprise during their genre-hopping live performances, and it’s this variety which makes Sounds of System Breakdown so unique. ‘Devil’s Son’ and ‘Underneath the Floorboards’ are standout tracks in a set which held its momentum from beginning to end. And with free copies of their debut album snapped up by The Grand Social crowd after the gig, no doubt there are more than a few new Sounds of System Breakdown fans in the wake of Hard Working Class Heroes 2010.
Bitches With Wolves @ The Grand Social
It’s approaching midnight, and the large crowd who have gathered in The Grand Social to see Bitches With Wolves are ready to dance. The ever-flamboyant James O’Neill is greeted by huge applause as he appears onstage – and if tonight’s performance is going to be even half as interesting as the jacket he’s sporting, then it’s gonna be a good one. It’s straight into party mode with the frantic ‘Burnin’ Up’, followed by a cover of ‘Toca’s Miracle’ to take the crowd on a journey back to their teenage disco days. O’Neill was born to be on stage – his audience adore him. Credit must be given to the Bitches With Wolves astute approach to building up their fan-base – to date none of their music has been made available to purchase; they have garnered popularity based on a combination of online hits and acclaimed performances… and with killer dance-pop tunes like ‘Broken Hearts’ and ‘Good As Gold’ in their arsenal, whenever Bitches With Wolves DO release a single or EP you can guarantee it’ll be a success. In the meantime, their live shows are there to be enjoyed and that is exactly what the crowd did tonight. A ridiculously fun (albeit very sweaty) end to the HWCH proceedings at The Grand Social.
Photos by Sara Devine, James Goulden and Damien McGlynn