Well we forgot to get him a cake but otherwise we reckon that State did Nialler9’s fifth birthday celebration proud on Saturday night. Low Sea kicked it all off, playing only one of their first ever live shows and although there is still work to do, they grew into it as their set progressed. The influences are clear (not helped by what sounded suspiciously like a Mazzy Star cover) and they need a few more tunes, but the duo eased us into the night nicely.
Squarehead, meanwhile, are fair running away with themselves. Coming straight from the studio they sound like a band itching to take on the world. Reminding us, in a funny way, of Buffalo Tom, the trio’s strongest point is the sheer quality of their songs. They already sound like an A Grade singles band, delivering said tunes with an enthusiasm that manages to be both together and ramshackle at the same time. Best of all we’re not alone in our admiration, as the Mercantile is hopping by the end of their set.
And so to our special guests. If there are many more Irish bands on the crest of such a big fuck off wave than Adebisi Shank at the moment we’d be surprised. What becomes clear from the off that, while their second album was the sound of a band attempting (and succeeding) to make a record beyond their live sound, they have now reversed the approach. The old chaos is still very much there but now tempered by a new found structure. Yes they still rock like bastards but they do so while managing to sound like a cohesive unit. The venue, by now stuffed to breaking point, responds by going nuts – including a spectacular stage dive from State’s own photo editor. An hysterical, perhaps historical night. Happy birthday.
State vs… returns on October 15th with guests Glider.
Photos: Kieran Frost