The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011


Oliver Cole, Escape Act & Others (live in Temple Bar, Dublin)

Review Snapshot:  Day two of Hard Working Class Heroes involved quite a bit of venue shifting but was all the better for it. 

The Cluas Verdict? 8.5 out of 10

Full Review:
Thankfully, my leg felt a great deal better and so venue-hopping was not going to be as much of a problem as it was on Day One of Hard Working Class Heroes 2009.  

Oliver Cole - The Button Factory
Oliver Cole certainly knows how to write a tune.  Tonight, Cole's set consists of songs taken from his yet to be released debut solo LP such as Little Bad Dream, A Drug Song and, the title track, We Albatri.  His ear for melody is second to none and it would be impossible to watch an Oliver Cole gig without wanting to sing-a-long and tap your foot.  That being said,  it was such a shame that Cole was on so early as his stage presence and interaction with the crowd is much more suited to later in the night.  Indeed, it's almost worth checking out Cole the next time you can just to hear the story behind We Albatri.

Escape Act - 4 Dame Lane
2009 has been a bit of a revelation for me in terms of bands from Northern Ireland.  And So I Watch You From Afar and General Fiasco both blew me away at Oxegen but it was Belfast's Escape Act that started the trend earlier in the year with their excellent debut album, Loosely Based on Fiction.  Tonight's set, in the gorgeous surroundings of 4 Dame Lane (why aren't more gigs held here?), consists of a mixture of tracks from that record and the band's sophomore LP, to be released in 2010.  Of the newer tracks, Salt in Your Eye is my favourite but it's interesting to hear how the band have grown organically into their new sound without losing the qualities that caught my attention in the first place.

C!ties - Twister Pepper
There was a lot of firsts involved in this particular set.  My first time venturing to the Northside during HWCH 2009, my first time in Twisted Pepper and my first time to see/hear C!ties.  The instrumental 3 piece, from Ennis, look about 12 but don't let that fool you.  Despite the number of gigs I go to, I've always thought that people who wear ear plugs to gigs just don't have the aural fortitude that I do.  Tonight, I wish I had ear plugs.  Perhaps it is the venue's small size, but C!ties are possibly the loudest band I've heard live.  I could literally feel the sound waves emanating from the speakers.  Behind the wall of sound and veil of chaos; C!ties are a band fully in possession of any number of finely crafted songs.  Definitely a band to watch out for.

The Poormouth - Think Tank
I had intended on waiting around Twisted Pepper for The Holy Roman Army, but it took them so long to set up that, when they finally started, I couldn't forgive them for how poor they sounded.  Maybe soundcheck the mic in future, yeah? Anyway, as luck would have it, I was told that The Poormouth in Think Tank might be worth checking out.  They certainly were; the band's blend of lo-fi melodic rock was the perfect way to counter the sonic onslaught of C!ties.  There's more than a hint of Bright Eyes, Neil Young and Smog about what The Poormouth do but, as influences go, they're not bad reference points by which to chart your musical journey.  Indeed, The Poormouth prove to be the perfect way to end the evening. 

Steve O'Rourke

It should be noted that I also saw Cutaways and Fionn Regan this evening but not enough of either to give a fair review.

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Nuggets from our archive

2008 - A comprehensive guide to recording an album, written by Andy Knightly (the guide is spread over 4 parts).