by / August 16th, 2010 /

The Cast Of Cheers – Whelan’s, Dublin

Black cats and rabbits’ feet may be de rigueur elsewhere on this Friday the 13th, but everyone in Whelan’s on Wexford Street is feeling particularly lucky tonight. Arriving a tad late, State has just watched the last few numbers by Enemies, darlings of the Richter Collective cult, who intersperse their careful thrashing and bashing with those customary noodly bits everyone likes at the moment. We didn’t see the whole set, so we’re just going to say that it was up-beat, loud and all very ‘post-rock’.

Enemies had a fair old crowd before them (State even got dirty looks while squeezing in to join a friend up front) but by the time our headliners have stalked forward on to the stage, it’s more or less full.

The band they’re here to see, The Cast of Cheers, arrived fully formed at the start of the year, with free-to-download debut Chariots making them tonnes of friends. They also performed live like they had a few hundred gigs out of the way already and had the gumption to boycott the IMRO Showcase over their stance on Limited Online Exploitation Licences.

If it all sounds very precocious then that’s because it is. You can see it in them throughout this tight-as-a-duck’s-arse set. Conor Adams’s edgy vocal is a cultivated weapon, full of phlegm and finished with a Reznor-like snarl. Brother Neil does a decent Omar Rodriguez-Lopez impression, flailing guitar manically and writhing about in between lead duties. It is noticed that the two guitarists occasionally dance about like this while a mysterious guitar track is playing somewhere. This is down to some form of sampler loop pedal. It’s a nifty idea, and part of Cast of Cheers’s sound, but live it looks vainglorious – why don’t they stop throwing shapes and play the thing instead, you wonder.

Or not. You may be marvelling too much at the moments when everything comes together. ‘Derp’s’ high-wattage math-rock pulse is a full-on floor-filler. During ‘Tigerfox’, Adams drops his plec amid the ranting chorus “Is there any fucking love in here?” The line is quickly improvised by the dancing mob as he stoops to pick it up. That rhythm section is something to behold too. It would all be impossible without Kevin Curran on drums, you feel. Like bassist John Higgins, he doesn’t fill spaces with ego, and instead just builds structure and playful stability for these restless songs.

We near the end of the show and Whelan’s is seeing a full-blown crowd-surfing and slam-dancing demonstration. It slightly demeans the intellect of this music, but State isn’t worrying. By all signs, Cast of Cheers are the cream in the process of rising to the top. Tonight, after all, there was no shortage of fucking love in here.

Photos by Kieran Frost

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  • Emmet

    Reminded me of seeing The Immediate about 5 years ago in Whelans… you just get the feeling these guys are something special. Truly exciting, intellligent music. Great gig!

  • I go so far as to call this show a coming of age. They were truly phenomenal, and it really did have a sense of occasion about it. No problems whatsoever selling the place out, some great new stuff and the same energy we’ve been loving for the best part of a year. Cast Of Cheers only get better, sensational stuff.

  • I’d beg to differ on the moshing, though. A show of love I reckon, even if you could hear the band ask everyone to calm down. It was a show of affection, nothing else, and a huge compliment to a band who got the crowd as het up as I’ve ever seen Whelans.

  • Hil

    Point taken James – it’s been ages since I’ve seen a Whelan’s crowd that worked up, and that’s to the bands credit. It’s just that we were looking straight down from the balcony above and it looked like people who had come to see the show now had to move to the fringes to avoid being pushed around. It was pretty full on. I’m just saying it doesn’t have to be that way – I’m sure that’s not the audience response that Cast of Cheers are seeking to ellicit.

  • It’s probably not what they’re going for, sure, but when a band that full of tension and that able to build to crescendos starts to bring in a big crowd, that’s what they’ll have to get used to, it’s inevitable. It’s a shame Whelan’s is so small as people were getting shoved tight to the sides (and probably a few even left), but I actually think it’s a pretty natural reaction. I was in the middle of it for a minute or two and it certainly wasn’t violent, just energetic, and I’d hate to see a stance like the old At The Drive In ‘no expressing yourself energetically’ thing (about the only thing I didnt like about that band – let your audience react in their own way!). As long as it doesn’t cross that line into violence, I see no problem, though those at the back might beg to differ. Still, the important thing is what a great show it was. Respect!