Another month, another Friday and another opportunity for State to come together with one of our colleagues to showcase three of our favourite Irish bands. This time we teamed up with the mighty Thumped.com and it was quite a night. Feed The Bears got things going as the late night dusk fell outside. Part of the fantastic Popical Island stable, they epitomise all that is good about the label – great tunes, a refreshing looseness, back and forth boy girl vocals and a wide ranging musical palate. We love them and so does the Mercantile. That warm feeling is somewhat dampened when we discover, 24 hours later, that they have decided to call it a day. Only our opinion but we’d say that they’re making a massive mistake.
On the surface, it appears that The Ambience Affair aren’t having the best of nights – technically at least. Using live samples and loops, the duo’s sound is complex at the best of time and for a while it looks like this rough and ready venue might get the better of them. Everything soon settles down however and they begin to work their magic. The technical tricks are never overtly showy, instead building each song layer by layer. Not that they’re not capable of cutting loose, however, as Jamie’s vocals veer towards the extreme end of things. There are old songs, some great new songs and ‘Devil In The Detail’ to round things off.
Le Galaxie arrive in the midst of a UK and Irish tour but with their profile at home still mysteriously low. Maybe it’s a question of where they fit in the scheme of things. Are they a rock band playing dance music or vice versa? On tonight’s form, they can do whatever the hell they like. The initial fear that this might be another blokes bent over laptops and keyboards show is swiftly dispelled as they launch into the kind of showing to leave you open mouthed in astonishment. This is dancefloor fodder for sure but with that essential live element, both musically and in terms of performance. The night doesn’t take long to kick off, raising the energy levels throughout the room. It climaxes with the band in the audience, the audience on stage and a small synth making its way towards the bar. Surely, Le Galaxie’s cover as Ireland’s best kept musical secret is about to be blown wide open.
Photos: Kieran Frost