live review ~ 'rocky' album launch ~ the wonder villains, be like pablo, hot cops ~ bar sub, queens

by 11:07

If ever a band deserved a night of reckless abandon, it must surely be Derry City's Wonder Villains. They may play every quirk filled 'Rockshow' like it's their last, but that can't take away from the meticulous planning which runs alongside their natural enthusiasm. Although Saturday night's gig was clearly as carefully executed as any Villains show, there remained an unmistakable frivolity in the air which can only be attained after a certain degree of agonizing  dedication to the cause.

 Having secured backing from the increasingly powerful Polar Patrol Publishing company, the completion of their debut album and a guest appearance from none other than legendary Chelsea footballer Gianfranco Zola himself, the night marked the closing of a long chapter leading up to Rocky's release, and the opening of a brand new one. Tasked with writing the opening paragraph was Belfast's Hot Cops, a little known outfit playing only their fourth ever live gig...

To open at any album launch party is a rather tall order indeed. Throw into the mix a youthful band with little experience and you'd more than likely ponder the thinking behind such a bold statement from the triumphant hosts. Within the first thirty seconds it was abundantly clear why Hot Cops were on this bill. Taking despondent brilliance to new heights, the three piece's storming set was gently marooned amongst a band of almost intriguing niceties. Carl Eccles is a front man of quiet genius. Wonderfully intriguing, his slight awkwardness carries the Thom Yorke styled reluctance of a veteran performer (or perhaps anti-performer), with the intangible drawl of Julian Casablancas floating over perfectly chaotic rock and roll. It's a persona he must not compromise, as it looks to be paramount to the self proclaimed 'punk bitches' fascinating aesthetic. While Casablancas' New York contingent seem to have lost their way somewhat, Hot Cops pick up their baton and run with it. 'Kenzie's Farmhouse' ignites their set, ensuring their audiences attention even if the cleverness of the lyrical content was lost at times in a swirl of guitars.  'And you tied balloons to the corner of my mouth, to make it seem like I wanted to be there, but looking back I didn't want to be anywhere'.

For those fearing the death of rock and roll, Hot Cops provide a much needed life-line. Quite unbelievable for a band still in such early development. (See their debut EP 'Another Teen Age' below*)

Kicking their set off with the singalong juggernaut that is 'Julianne', Scotland's 'Be Like Pablo' seemed in typically exuberant form from the off. A perfect compliment to The Wonder Villains power pop, Be Like Pablo bring an ever so slightly rockier attitude to their live shows, without loosing the pristine riffs or Beach Boys styled harmonies in the process. Their interesting hybrid of guitar driven teenage ballads, were counterbalanced by a mixture of synths and at times, emotional piano. Focusing very much on the performance element, the pop five piece took every opportunity to engage the crowd before them. One fan taking the time to break dance (yes, break dance) mid-way through the cleverly adapted rap-styled 'Without The Pain'.

In all Be Like Pablo's love lorn tales of hope fell neatly into the hands of an audience who fully appreciated them. (& I highly doubt a public shunning from Glasgow's rap community is likely to deter their infectious charisma anytime soon) 

Perhaps the most appealing aspect of the fabulous Wonder Villains lies within their genuine nature. In an all too cynical world, optimism and passion is often misconstrued as a vain attempt to pull a veil over an artists true feelings. One look at these Villains however, and it's clear Kieran, Cheylene, Eimear and Ryan not only wear their hearts on their sleeves, but project it into each and every song. Songs that could nearly claim classic status already attracted a massive noise, with almost every person in the underground venue singing along to 'TV', '33' and of course the song which first brought them to mainstream attention in 'Zola'. Yet it was the newer contingent of hits that seemed the most impressive. Tracks like 'Baby Don't Feel So Sad' and 'Marshall' moving the audience from gentle sways to boundless dancing at ease. Of course, their performance matched the great quality of the set. Pausing midway through songs to sudden near static silence, before busting back into life seemed as natural as though it were a spontaneous decision. Hell, maybe it was. They're that good, it would no longer be surprising.

Yes, they can clearly host a great party (entering on stage to the original Rocky theme song simply reinforced that!), but to ignore this bands musicality would be a crime in itself as they are now impeccably tight. Lead guitarist Ryan McGroarty's riffs cascaded through Cheylene Murphy's shimering key-tar, all the while front woman Eimear Coyle never missed a bass note whilst maintaining their songs often fast paced melodies. In Kieran Coyle the Villains have one of the most accomplished drummers in the country, his explosive style an important component of the bands captivating live performances.

It was always destined to be a great night for one of our biggest bands, but even in all of Wonder Villains trademark enthusiasm, they may never have expected it to have been that good.

Taylor Johnson

Wonder Villains debut album 'Rocky' is out now!

For all official Wonder Villains news see the links below:

For all official Be Like Pablo news see the links below:

For all official Hot Cops:

live review ~ bushmills live 2014 ~ bushmills whiskey distillery

by 04:51

'Bushmills Live' is an intriguing concept indeed. It's a one day music festival with a difference, attracting some of the best bands around the planet and bringing them together to host an evening of exhilarating colour, warmth and whiskey in the tiny North Coast town of Bushmills. The venue? The famous old distillery factory of course. With an atmosphere as quietly electric as it was civilized, it created an interesting backdrop to one of the most sought after gigs of the year.

Opening the show 'straight outta Compton' (well, New York, which is close enough) came the brilliantly named Rubblebucket. A fascinating cocktail of indie rock and roll, big hitting orchestral  interludes and a front woman of radiating charisma, these Americans came to party and party they did. Thinking nothing of jumping off stage mid-way through their set and dancing with the distinguished crowd of friends, family and competition winners below, it didn't take long for Rubblebucket to leave their mark on an audience who could never be 100% sure what to expect. Single 'Came Out Of A Lady' bounces with the samba swings of Paul Simon at his finest, with an irrepressible groove, while 'Sound Of Erasing' really hit home Kalmia Traver's effortlessly brilliant vocal range over her bands controlled chaos, never lying far from the surface. The entire Rubblebucket experience is similar to that of one massive carnival. It's a never ending Spring Break, wrapped around a bright, infectious enthusiasm. This band sound like the finished package already and could be forgiven for resenting such a low billing at their first ever gig in Europe. Somehow, you imagine they were simply happy to be part of the celebrations.

Local lads Levity Breaks are a band of startling potential. Winners of the prestigious 'Bushmills Live Legacy Fund' (courtesy to Gary Lightbody and his Third Bar music label) the four piece have grown from strength to strength since the release of their 'Maudlin' EP in October 2013 and looked all the stronger for it. Playing mainly new material for their big performance, the band's winning formula of big hitting anthems with swirling guitars has clearly not been abandoned, as they showed just what peaked Lightbody's attention in the first place. Singer and bassist Marty McLaughlin's rough delivery and knack for a promising build up puts in mind a young Stuart Adamson, as does the bands military styled drumming and the sheer ferocity of much of their setlist. The slightly older single 'Broken Hands' again played a prominent role in the bands live shows, making a fitting end to a performance which will only further their resolve to break out of the confines of Northern Ireland.

London's Luke Sital-Singh has all the necessary components to be a truly big name in the world of acoustic folk-pop. His charming and vulnerable on stage demeanor mean he's already worked his way into your favor before he's even sang a note. You're almost willing the young songwriter to blow you away, like the living embodiment of the classic underdog story. Luke can have an audience on side within the first minute of a performance. Thankfully, he has the voice and deft touches of brilliance scattered throughout his hand crafted songs to more than match his humble nature. 'Nothing Stays The Same's singalong chorus will of course be it's main selling point, but allow the verse to wash over you first. They're perhaps even more enjoyable. So what's the problem? Well, essentially, there isn't one. Luke Sital-Singh is excellent and drawn some great comparisons to the likes of Bon Iver, Ben Howard and even Jeff Buckley. But this may prove a difficult brunt to bare in a folk scene already over saturated to the nth degree. Even the mentality of Ed Sheeran seems to have shifted from the delicate touches of '+' to the over produced pop swagger of 'Sing' for his new album.

Having said that, Luke Sital-Singh is not Ed Sheeran and towards the end of his performance he brought on the acoustic juggernaut that is Iain Archer alongside him. Between them they wrote Luke's debut album and to say Archer's track record is rather impressive is like saying Freddy Mercury could 'sort of hit a high note'. An understatement of massive proportions. Last year on the very same stage Archer's last protégé, an unknown lad from the mid-lands, played a blinder, similar to Sital-Singh. Things haven't gone too badly for him since...

Next on the bill came the small matter of Gary Lightbody's Tired Pony. The super-group, consisting of legendary REM guitarist Peter Buck, Iain Archer, with production duties falling to Jacknife Lee, were tonight joined by another local hero as Bronagh Gallagher stepped forward to duet with the bands front-man. Playing songs from both of their beautifully written albums Tired Pony were in fine voice all evening, never missing an ethereal beat and playing each song with the heartrending potency with which they were written. 'Blood's pulsating beat roused the crowd from their relaxed cocoon cast by Sital-Singh, while 'I Am The Landslide' saw Iain Archer's soothing tones take centre stage. 'I'm Begging You Not To Go's subtle wonder cast a stunning silence on the mesmerized crowd, even when Lightbody admitted it was about "Trying to sleep with a woman!" whilst simultaneously dedicating it to his Father for Fathers Day (a moment really not as weird as that sentence made it sound...). Clearly relishing being back on home shores, Lightbody was in great form, dancing to every song, bantering with the audience and literally jumping into the crowd at one point. It was a flawless exhibition of this countries greatest exports, making it all the harder to believe this was only their sixth ever full band show and their first in Ireland. To be there was nothing short of a privilege.

Following Tired Pony can be no mean feat, but it was one singer-songwriter David C Clements clearly relished. Having been hidden away in the hills of Donegal recording his debut album, the Belfast man has clearly honed his craft to breath-taking levels as he produced another performance worthy of taking note of. Clements biggest strength is his ability to create a peaceful serenity within his music, before shattering it to the ground in one sweeping falsetto, and it's clear that this is a talent that will be willfully exploited on his increasingly anticipated debut album. Another artist taking the opportunity to showcase mainly new material, Clements looks equally comfortable on his own, acoustic guitar in hand, or fronting a band. In a highly accomplished performance, he managed to set himself apart from the pool of songwriters through a boundless energy that more than justified his place as near headliner in this distinguished line-up. The future looks very bright for him indeed.

For a small section of teenage girls assembled at the front of the crowd the moment had finally arrived. The 1975 carry with them an air of nonchalance that, far from coming across as arrogance, instead reinforces the notion that this is a band in the heart of the tempest, the band for 2014 and they know it. Front-man Matty Healy of course steals the show for his casual flamboyancy, dancing around the stage at will, playing with amps and drinking various cups of wine without a care in the world. Few artists could get away with such a perceived lack of interest, but Healy can because when all's said and done, he is a writer of such catchy melody that he can alter a gig massively with a simple riff/flick of the hair or indeed 'hey!'. He has a manner which cannot be taught, a charisma of such narcotic hilarity it's as heartbreaking as it is enjoyable. Healy still possesses the razor sharp wit of a man destined to cover the walls of a thousand teenage girls bedrooms/facebooks, even if at times he can make non-sequiters The Mighty Boosh would be proud of. Commenting on the technical problems which dogged most of their set, ' This is a haberdashery of a performance!'. One must ponder what goes on inside the young Mancunian's head. 'Can any sense be made of what I'm about to say? No. Say it anyway, someone will make a gif out of it'. 

This, it must be stressed, is not a criticism of The 1975, simply an observation. Without the constant chaos which follows them, they may not be half as much fun as they are and songs like 'Talk', 'Sex' and yes, 'Chocolate', sounded as massive as they did at the bands Ulster Hall gig earlier this year and during their 'Radio 1's Big Weekend' set. For a band who struggled to draw in a crowd at The Oh Yeah Music centre only a few years ago, The 1975 have clearly progressed massively to be one of the biggest bands on the planet right now. Now they must step back up to the mark and produce a follow up to their mammoth debut and unfortunately, it may be here that their longevity will be judged.

The 1975 are the band of right now and they played like it. Let's see if they can stay there.

Taylor Johnson.

spectrum festival 2014 ~ ten memorable moments

by 10:08

In the aftermath of yet another memorable night for local music, there remains the overwhelming sense of Belfast pride that will inevitably end in many proclaiming this was a night of legend. A night when the stars aligned and anything became possible. The night when A Plastic Rose, triumphant heroes, returned to pick up where they left off as one this countries best live outfits. Indeed, this is true. It was a memorable night, with an abundance of highlights. So rather than detail the individual performances of each and every act on the bill, instead we shall seek to fill in the bleary eyed blanks and flickering memories of Spectrum 2014.

In no particular order, this is Encore NI's Top 10 Memorable moments...

1. Gerry Norman dismissing claims that A Plastic Rose left to 'escape the Belfast music scene'.

It was a subtle moment of seemingly pure inspiration, here we see APR's charismatic front man hit back at a pretty obvious misquote from The Belfast Telegraph. In which, it was claimed Belfast's favorite sons left in order to escape the Belfast music scene, suggesting they had to leave in order to gain success. In reality? Norman is perhaps the NI music scene's greatest advocate, who alongside Gary Lightbody has, as one punter eloquently put it to me "pushed music in this country to ridiculous levels, the man single-handedly kept Volume Control alive for God's sake! The Telegraph were way out of line with that one". Whether or not the humble Sligo native would admit to that himself it's hard to say, but the subtle on stage reference raised more than a few pints in the air as a result.

2. Hurdles unleashing new song 'France'.

It was tough conditions indeed for the indie quartet, with guitarist Fearghal Breslin missing from action and an early slot on the bill, but a strong set was capped off with the performance of what must surly be a future single. 'France' see's the pop-hooks of singles gone by mixed with a Daft Punk-disco element of rhythmic guitar riffs, that saw the audience start to move for the first (though not the last) time all night. One to watch out for...

3. Team NI ~ The abundance of local support.

One of the most refreshing and beautiful aspects of the local music scene is the severe lack of vicious competition and overwhelming feelings of support. This was all too prevalent at Spectrum as some of our most talented musicians all came out to enjoy a night of quality music. Amongst them, The Wonder Villains, Mark McAllister of Pretty Child Backfire and Nathan Connolly of a little band called Snow Patrol. Would that level of support happen in any other major UK city? Somehow, I doubt it.

4. The Late Two's turning heads with unrecorded song 'Enemies'.

Until local lads The Late Twos took to the stage the crowd seemed somewhat distant to the bands giving their all before them. As soon as The Late Two's took over however, heads immediately began to turn, and it's their new punchy opener which must take much of the plaudits for this. Their set also saw a small crowd gather towards the stage for the first time all evening, overcoming a potentially awkward situation for the festivals organizers.

5. Crowd Surfers.

No festival is complete without those lovable lunatics, the humble crowd surfers. They show up, usually a little worse for wear, determined to have the best night of their lives. Or at least a better night than the one before. This see's them scream their heads off, remove various garments, throw their beer over everyone, 'spread the love' and eventually, when the tension in the air becomes too much, when the bass can defy gravity no longer and therefor must drop and they catch sight of that '#YOLO' tattoo they got in Magaluf that their Mum had warned them about, they take to the skies and ride the wave. Hero's of our time.

6. The God-like love for New Ancestors.

As 'The 1930's' Jonny Solari and Andrew Cameron's own brand of acoustic folk-rock won the hearts of the city and regularly sold out shows. Now living in Scotland and under the name New Ancestors, it's no secret that rather than wane, the popularity of this two piece has simply rose to adoration on a different level. Positioned further down the bill than they may have liked didn't stop them drawing in a massive crowd, singing the lyrics back to all of their songs, clapping when needed and pleading for 'one more tune!' after they left the stage. It was a brilliant show of affection.

7. Mass river dancing to 'Kids Don't Behave Like This'.

The final song of the co-headliners set saw a very rare moment indeed. As Gerry Norman prepared for the last screamed chorus of this debut album epic he demanded, 'Everybody River Dance! C'mon people!'. Whether he actually expected the mosh pits before him to link arms and dance in unity as though it was Eurovision in 1994 only he can answer, but they certainly did and what a pleasure it was to be a part of it. 

8. The feel-good atmosphere.

There is no point in denying that the end of Glasgowberry last year marked a worrying time for Northern Irish music. The happy atmosphere and love at that festival felt completely unique to us. "Can we ever get that back?  Will we ever have anything like it again? We'll need to find another mountain...Someone find a mountain!" What Spectrum 2014 proved was that the magic of that festival wasn't in the surroundings, it was in the people. Though only in it's second year, the growth of this festival is a testament to Northern Irish people's resolve to keep the memory of Glasgowberry alive. 

9. The great coverage for the event.

Encore NI wasn't the only music website there that night. In fact, many of the countries top music magazines, journalists and newspapers were present to record this great occasion. A fine example of just how far this festival has come in one year.

10. Ian McHugh's swallow dive to the bar.

It was an act of sheer passion. Expressionism in it's purist art-form. Having rocked their triumphant return and finished in a rapture of broken mics, screams and future hits from the upcoming new album 'Flickering Light Of An Inner War', lead guitarist and vocalist Ian McHugh dropped his guitar ran to the front of the stage and dived into the outstretched arms of the APRmy below. The best part? They carried him straight to the bar. A lesson in rock and roll that is surly Spectrum's defining moment to date.

Roll on Spectrum 2015. More of the same please.

Taylor Johnson

single of the week ~ 'catalina' ~ joshua burnside

by 03:38

Joshua Burnside is of a very rare breed indeed. Somewhat of an enigma, the acoustic singer-songwriter could not be further removed from that very title, intriguing elements of entrancing, ambient instrumentation falling like rain over Burnside's soft croon. It's this unique blend of characteristics that has won him many admirers throughout the country and with the release of  new single 'Catalina' the young folk-pioneer has done his reputation no harm. Indeed, 'Catalina' may be his strongest release to date.

A self confessed 'travelling song', to be sung with a bottle in hand and a heart full of hope, this is a song riddled in poignancy and blindingly beautiful melody. It's actually a slight departure from Burnside's usual experimental, slightly electronic work, but for all the hype surrounding that niche he's created himself, 'Catalina' is certainly a welcome one. From the opening acoustic picked intro, to the sing-along calls of 'where I painted the side fence, the colour of autumn, but there's no fire in my belly...' it's a song of elegance and quiet triumph.

Lyrically, Burnside has clearly developed into a vivid and captivating story teller. Painting the picture of a possibly fictional journey across Europe, the delicacy and gentle expression within each stanza reveals more of this enigmatic songwriter than perhaps ever before. Even if it requires the listener to fill in the blanks for themselves every once in a while."I long for the Summer, my home, I long for my brother, sister..."

 "Catalina, How come you don't sing no more?"

With a full length album release in place for the future, the days of Joshua Burnside's cult status may be numbered. A classic album could well be on it's way.

Taylor Johnson

Released by 'Start Together Singles Club' download 'Catalina' here.
Find other releases from Joshua Burnside on his Bandcamp below⁞►

For all official Joshua Burnside news, follow the links below...


live review ~ 'real livewire' single launch ~ echo raptors, the couth & the sun shadows ~ the menagerie, belfast

by 15:58

With each passing release, Belfast's Echo Raptors have continued to grow. Capturing the full blown ferocity of early singles such as 'The Plastic People' and tying this in with a matured, fully formed wall of sound, it's clear in new single 'Real Live Wire' that this is a group with a greater understanding of who they are. The setting for this stomping new tracks release was in a personal favorite venue of this reporter, the retro-discotheque  that is Belfast's Menagerie. Setting the scene with a dance invoking mix of indies greatest alternative anthems (courtesy of DJ Rory Mackin) and a projection of live clips from the likes of The Rolling Stones beamed onto the walls, it would be the job of local lads The Sun Shadows to open the show...

The Sun Shadows attacked their set in the only way they know how. In a barrage of typical swagger and attitude. Vocalist Aaron Craig at times cuts a lonely figure at the microphone, surveying the scene and taking in each moment, before bursting to life in each tracks chorus. The art of the lone-singer is a difficult job, but one he seems to relish. The Shadows personal brand of psychedelia resonated with an audience in just the right mood, even if the early nature of their performance slot hindered their usual steadfast confidence somewhat. Inspiral Carpets styled 'My Best Friends Girl' saw the band overturn a potentially awkward technical malfunction, as they came out fighting in a floury of synth dominated riffs. As their set progressed, so too did their delivery, as the tight knit-unity of their usual pedigree returned in some style, particularly in final track 'Twisted Mistress'. Showing a classic 60's vibrancy, with a sing along groove and 'I Am The Resurrection' inspired jam session, it highlighted the true potential The Sun Shadows possess when they hit top gear. Given the chance, they will get their again.

Lisburn lads The Couth have came a long way. Their swirling brand of 'beach-boy, surf punk' has now crossed the boarder from beloved dance-inducing indie into a clearly defined sound, all of their own making. Songs like 'If You Go' and 'Down By The River' shimmer with heart-felt honesty and captivating melody (particularly the latter, written for 'anyone who's ever drank a carry out by a river'). The chemistry between brothers David and Matthew McCrum, both in harmony and stage presence, give The Couth an extra dimension. Be this through a natural shared charisma, or simple passion, it cannot be ignored and when combined with the incredible drumming of Kyle Irwin and Ryan Stanfield's tantalizing riffs, it makes for a powerful outfit indeed. The transition from old single 'Cycles' to new single 'Bloodbreaker' was both seamless and unexpected, showcasing brilliantly this bands evolution to what is surly a very big future.  

As the crowd grew restless and the excitement grew, it became clear that this night would belong to it's headliners, and so it proved as Echo Raptors delivered another memorable performance. Opening with a brand new single can be a most precarious decision, not so tonight however, as 'Real Livewire's ability to exhilarate an audience more than justified the entire evening on it's own. Frontman Phil Rainey was in fine form all evening, stalking the stage with the purposeful stride of Ian Brown in his prime, while Vince Caddell proved he's elevated his lead guitarist role to become an established backing vocalist in his own right, never missing a single harmony or riff for that matter! 'Change My Way' is a song introduced by the band on many occasions as 'a future number one hit single'. Not so tonight, but that was because there was no need to state the blindingly obvious, as every member of the crowd turned to acknowledge what is simply a stroke of genius. While many bands would ride off the wave of brilliance of a track like this, Echo Raptors instead confined it to the middle of their set - allowing songs like 'She's So Free', 'Timebomb' and the awesome new 'Backseat' (the other half of Livewire's 'double a-side' status) with it's punchy breakdown and trippy lead guitar riff, to stand on their own. 'Backseat' may also showcase some of Rainey's best lyrical work to date, as fists from the audience raised to sing 'Nothing is wasted! Nothing is lost!' back at the band. It was the finale however, that really stole the show, as 'Feel It In Your Heart' cascaded through the venue to it's dizzying conclusion, as Rainey ditched his guitar for the psychedelic climax this gig deserved.

It takes a truly memorable performance to unite a room full of strangers to 'arms round eachother' singalong raptures, and that's just what Echo Raptors produced. A fantastic night.

Taylor Johnson

For all official Echo Raptors news follow the links below:

For all official news from The Couth follow the links below:

For all official The Sun Shadows news follow the links below:

modern life is rubbish 2nd line-up announced ~ thursday 26th june

by 12:29

Modern Life Is Rubbish today announced the official line-up for their second gig night. Set for 26th June, in The Pavilion, Belfast, the three bands on offer promise a high energy night of indie, straight up rock and roll.

Opening the night come the Madchester vibes of three piece 'Surfhouse'. Displaying more than a passing resemblance to the legendary Happy Mondays, the bands unique sound is unmatched by any in this country and with time so heavily on the side of this young group a bright future looks a certainty.

Twenty Four Hour Party People will want to come down early for this one.

Following Surhouse are a band Encore NI have always praised in the past, it is, in the words of UTV's Julian Simmons 'The Fabulous Sass'. With a back catalog of pile driving anthems, acoustic driven beauties and 60's tinged rock and roll, this is a band making a dramatic comeback from a turbulent few months which may have threatened the end of their musical journey. Instead, they're back and even more determined than before. A must see.

Finally, a head-line act that needs no introduction. Proclaimed by many as the saviors of rock and roll, with extensive touring experience and an army of fans at their disposal, it's Belfast's Echo Raptors. Destined for great things, they're unlikely to play this venue ever again, a rare chance to see a band destined for greatness up close and personal.

(Doors 9pm)
Taylor Johnson

Shizznigh Promotions presents... 'Shizz Fest' 2014

by 08:14

The good folk over at Shizzneigh Promotions have announced their line-up for the first annual 'Shizz Fest' gig night for this year. Playing host is possibly Belfast's best indie venue, The Limelight , and in an unusual act of exciting celebration, no less than eight bands have been chosen for the line-up.

Here's Encore NI's personal picks of the bunch...

Get down early for fast rising indie starlets In An Instant, who'll  open the show. Doubtlessly still in top form after the release of debut EP 'Light You Know And Love', this is a band on their way to the coveted headline slot.

Key Song(s) - 'Something Right And Something Real', 'Lovers Apart', 'Keep On Moving With Your Heart In Place'
Find them here: Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud

Following them come another band from Belfast's mod-revivalist scene, The Sun Shadows. Also riding the wave of publicity after a successful EP launch, expect a typically melodic performance from the 60's enthusiasts, with plenty of Liam Gallagher swagger to boot.

Key Song(s) - 'See The Stars', 'Before Your Eyes'
Find them here - Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud

Adopting a punkier persona than the steadfast indie of singles gone by, it looks like a new era for Lisburn's The Couth. Gigging more than ever before and with an ever growing fan base, you'd be crazy to miss this band who've always been at the forefront of the local scene's fashion, style and riot inducing anthems.

Key Song(s) - 'Cycles', 'BloodBreaker'
Find them here - Facebook, Twitter, Bandcamp

In any local line-up's these days, it's almost impossible to ignore The Late Twos. With an explosive, watertight set of old and new gems and one of the countries most natural performers in front man Matty Legge, The Late Twos are a band not to be missed.

Key Song(s) - 'The Late Twos', 'Sierra Leone', 'Lana True', 'Enemies'
Find them here - Facebook, Twitter, Official Website

Keep up to date with all official Shizznigh PR news here...

& Find the official events page here...

Taylor Johnson

live review ~ hidden machine 03 ~ in an instant | 'a light you know and love' ep launch with affleck & c-beams (part 2)

by 06:45

Here at Encore NI we've been quick to praise In An Instant's fast paced rise through the local music scene, understandably so, given the massive success of their EP launch night. It's important to remember the two bands who supported that night of course; Paul Shevlin's 'C-Beams' and electronic, synth rockers Affleck.

Opening the show came 'C-Beams', a band hailed more as a visual arts project, rather than a fully formed alt band by it's creator. Playing a completely original set, front man Shevlin bravely stayed away from the hits and trusted melodies of his former outfit Hologram, instead relying on the likes of new single 'Tannhauser' to captivate and intrigue. Thankfully this proved a stroke of brilliance, as C-Beams atmospheric rock permeated through the minds of those present, lulling the majority to a shoe gaze styled state of total relaxation. Making the leap from this quiet storm, to a full blown gail of rockier numbers seemed also a task almost too easy for C-Beams, as the unusually large crowd who had gathered early fully appreciated. Much like Rams Pocket Radio before them, C-Beams proved there was life in the old piano-driven rock scene yet, which makes the occasion even sadder when you consider this is C-Beams first and last ever gig. A one off appearance, on a one off night. A fitting end to what should have been a significant start. If Paul Shevlin was aiming to raise the bar for his next project, it was mission accomplished. 

In a typically audacious set, Belfast's Affleck again pushed the boundaries of audio dynamism. Their often bizarre, though thoroughly captivating tracks drawing in hoards of new customers in the process. Praise must go to any band willing to add violin melodies to a cacophony of synths and prevalent falsetto. While this could so easily have have been seen as a gimmick, it instead simply added to a band relying as much on their visual presence as their sound. Despite a rocky opening ten minutes, Affleck recovered to rediscover their 80's infused pinnacle with single 'Cat King Lightning'. 

Taylor Johnson

For official Affleck news follow the links below:

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