by / November 25th, 2013 /

The Minutes – Cork

It’s just passed 11pm in Cyprus Avenue as three suited images emerge on stage; a confident stride is a common denominator in the men as each picks up their instrument. While both support acts tonight are commendable, it’s Elastic Sleep who are the standout of the two – offering a darker dreamscape of melancholic pop and Pixies influenced rock. The five-piece adhere to the loudquietloud formula; full of solid rhythms and trance-inducing lead tones of resonance and static feedback, the female lead vocals soar above, struggling to ascend the primal rumbles of both axe men.

The Minutes were once hailed as “Ireland’s hardest working rock band”. It’s easy to see why. The moustachioed trio have to date only released one record, 2011’s Marcata, yet since they have had little respite from playing practically every venue that can hold them and their fans. A the group launch into ‘Hold Your Hand’ the magnetism that such an approach has built up is unmistakeable; those fans that occupy the middle section of the crowd slowly draw closer, enveloping the front of stage as frontman Mark Austin draws them in. At only their second song, ‘I.M.T.O.D’ allows Austin to wander through the crowd, guitar sown to his shirt as members pull and drag out of a man giving what is to be one of the defining moments of the evening.

The Minutes are on of Ireland’s few ‘true’ rock bands. Their charisma is unmatched in the live arena and they know it. Without an utterance from bassist, Tom Cosgrave or the bearded Shane Kinsella, both members hold down the fort while making it seem like an effortless job. ‘Gold’, ‘Believer’ and ‘Fleetwood’ all appear in almost album formation, the crowd becoming more boisterous as beer swills from glass to ground and Austin demands for the crowd to dance. Almost released from the ether of when Rock and Roll was exactly what it says on the tin; The Minutes groove through ‘Outflow’, ‘1234’ and ‘7 Seas’.

As while as that hardest working tag, we’d suggest the moniker “sassiest motherfuckers this side of the equator”. The band is well able for the back and forth between the crowd and security and while they approach gigs with a professional demeanour, they take the stage invasion with relative ease. As the penultimate track arrives the frontman warns fans, “Have you had a good fuckin’ time? Because you have about 10 minutes left to enjoy yourself. Let’s go crazy” As fans take to the stage while others dive in hope of friends catching them, security steps in; Austin offers a “fuck you” gesture towards them before raising his guitar to his mouth to play the solo from ‘Black Keys’ with his teeth.

‘Supernatural’ brings an end to the proceedings in rousing fashion as the song culminates in a crescendo of noise. Austin has strayed into the crowd several times, drenched the audience in water and offered his feelings towards the bar staff; as the final cymbal rings out, the group exit left, pushing through the crowd towards backstage. Job done, till the next time.

Photo: Francis O’ Dwyer