So a little interlude on one of my other interests. A now extensive gig going record has revealed that it is painfully rare to catch band that is special, especially a local one. I stumbled over The Lowly Knights supporting California indie folksters Port O’Brien, and they accomplished the very rare feat of being better than the main act. Self described as “grand ramshackle folk opera”, and having about a million members the lazy comparison is with the likes of The Polyphonic Spree. But for my money behind the big, upbeat choir on many of their tracks there is an intimacy you’d be more like to find with a singer/songwriter; see “You can tell a man by how he lifts his hands” on myspace for evidence.The big choir (suitably augmented by the crowd when need be) gives them a rich, full sound and while they have a limited repertoire at the moment it lacks any obvious weak points and leads to a really tight set. They’re following support slots with Snow Patrol by writing new material, and if there is any justice in the world they’ll explode sometime later this year. YouTube isn’t great for videos of them, but this one isn’t bad:
In contrast, Bangor three piece Two Door Cinema Club didn’t quite gel for me live. It’s always tough for support acts to work a crowd who’s there to see someone else and the Empire is a fairly big room, but the performance was just a little flat. Since then though, their track Something Good Can Work has worked its way steadily up my “Most Played” playlist so they are definitely worth keeping an eye on.
Skibunny have just completed a short North American tour including appearances at the influential South by South West festival. No new material for a while, but they’ve released a video for UpDown, a cool piece of electro pop that would effortlessly slot into one of their club nights.
I saw Cara Cowan singing Dylan’s It Ain’t Me, Babe at McHugh’s and I bitterly regret not capturing it on my new fangled space phone as it was all kinds of awesome. It’s now probably lost forever. A bit more investigation revealed some beautiful, delicate vocals and this little gem. She’s playing at The Limelight next Wednesday and I shall likely be there. She is related to the Cowans of Belfast punk outfit The Outcasts, to those that means anything to.
A little further afield, Mundy has released his studio fourth album but from what I’ve heard it’s not quite up to his previous standards; Fever is probably the pick of the bunch but I can’t see it lighting up the Irish charts like “Galway Girl” or “July”. He’s fairly solid live and while he’s playing the Electric Picnic this year he rarely ventures North which is a shame. Unlike dubs The Delorentos, who have been frequent visitors across the border, the highest profile supporting at Belsonic last year. They briefly threatened to split but thankfully that’s been knocked on the head and they can continue to produce more post punk melodic rock. Gifted with two excellent singers, The Rules is representative of their first album. The new track “You Can Make Sound” is available gratis on their official site.