Axis Of @ The Button Factory
Belfast band Axis Of launched an attack on sound, literally thrashing the decibels while metal-posturing on stage. Screaming their way through songs, like the tongue in cheek ‘Swine Flu vs. Bird Flu’, they provided both a high-energy fun and face melting experience in equal measure; jolting Saturday’s festival goers to life with violent aplomb.
The Loafing Heroes @ The Button Factory
Redolent of bicycling around the French countryside with your feet off the pedals, The Loafing Heroes supplied bashful indie pop with a Gallic edge from their Chula album. Soft percussive sounds from shakers, conga drum, and sansula jumbled superbly with resonating bass, floating clarinet notes and Gainsbourg-esque guitars. Vocals were split three ways throughout the performance, ranging from almost a whisper to a fuller slightly country meets samba choral, songs like ‘Anna Karina’ had the venue tapping their feet and clicking their fingers in appreciation; the song named after the Danish actress made more sense with the use of the film Band á Part as visuals. At times they were in danger of becoming a bit bijou, but on the whole it seemed to work.
Kid Karate @ The Mercantile
The highlight of Saturday night, Kid Karate packed the Mercantile’s venue with a sound that was like getting punched and then stroked in the face. The two piece thrashed out twitchy punk/grime from forthcoming EP, Heart, with hyperactive aggression. The defiant ‘You Need Violence’, hurtled through the air in a delicious cacophony of distinct guitar riffs, obsessive drumbeats and eviscerating, breath-catching vocals, courtesy of frontman Kevin Breen. A band who are definitely not to be judged by their appearance, a far cry from the hipster hard-sell that besieges them; the music they make is sheer hedonistic sonic fury.
The Gorgeous Colours @ The Grand Social
Dublin five piece, The Gorgeous Colours personified a valued pop sensibility with accomplished arrangements, and blissful four part harmonies that oozed pure sunshine. Lots of pleasantly plinking xylophone sounds trickled through ‘Locksmith’, over the rough round the edges, Neil Young ‘Heart of Gold’ tinged vocals. ‘Animal’ was a master-class in dulcet harmonies overlapping slow burning percussion and gently jangling guitars, punctuated with appropriate, never irksome, ‘oooohs’. A perfect package of feel good, danceable and all round lovely, gorgeous even, sounds. The Creatures Down Below EP launch takes place in Whelans on October 14th.
Lost Chord @ Sweeneys
Galway’s Lost Chord pride themselves on their disturbing discordance and defiantly give the finger to any naysayers when it comes to their sound. After garnering glowing reports for the There is No Lost Chord EP earlier this year, it was hardly surprising that a decent mob gathered to grab this performance. Arguably some of their ragged rapture didn’t translate well on the stage at Sweeneys, but the beguiling horror movie slow build of spiked guitar, winding synths and samples and up tempo drum beats on ‘Records Not Fear’ was perversely intelligent in style. Throughout other material, there was an almost acid-surf vibe drifting through melodies as nasal vocals both chastised and endeared; giving a sense that maybe occasionally in their free time, Lost Chord like to melt Beach Boys albums and get giddy on the fumes. They’re a band you’ll simply either like a whole lot or you won’t at all . . . and they probably don’t care either way.
The Cast of Cheers @ The Workman’s Club
Everyone’s new favourite band closed the live performances of the festival to a near riot. The Cast of Cheers are possibly the most talked about band of the moment and were clearly tipped as a must see for festival revellers; the queue extending down the street outside The Workman’s Club was full of jittery individuals desperately trying to gain entry to the already swamped venue. Trouncing out tracks from Chariot in their usual guitar frenzied, e-number consuming fashion, the band were met with boundless enthusiasm from their audience particularly for ‘Tip the Can’, ‘Tigerfox’ and ‘I am Lion’. In true stage veteran style they knew how to pull it back at crucial times, with the slow trance waltz of ‘Strangers’ breaking up the fast pace of the set, if only for a few minutes; before returning to blitzing the crowd with their post-indie-punk crescendo. A wonderfully abrasive and bolshie end to the three days.
Photos by Sara Devine, James Goulden and Damien McGlynn