Thursday Nights in Belfast, usually the calming before the storm named ‘the weekend’, but last night that storm was well and truly kicking off in the Queens Students Union’s Speakeasy. This night saw three bands named Green Monkey, Making Monsters and Chocolate Love Factory defy the name ‘Speakeasy’ by turning up to rock the minds and shake the bodies of everyone lucky enough to have been there, not that anyone was trying to speak while these three bands were on as they instantly grabbed your attention and held it tight until the last chord had been strummed.
The night was kicked off by the energetic sounds of Green Monkey, from the very moment they entered the stage a buzz shot around the room, as charismatic lead singer Niall Delaney encouraged those too shy or too sober to get up, to come and experience this band the only way they should be, on your feet and ready to dance. Once they began it was hard not to respond to the funky bass lines, tongue twisting rhymes and combination of foot stomping drum beats with electrifying guitar feats that reminded this writer at times of the likes of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Rage against the Machine. One of the highlights of this set was when Green Monkey played ‘Time to Get Up’, this original song best showcased the bands talent for finding the perfect balance between hip hop verses backed up with funky tunes before smashing into a hard rock chorus guaranteed to have you head banging.
Once Green Monkey had finished their set it was time for Making Monsters to take to the stage. This band, a well known name around the Northern Ireland music scene and one of our bands to watch in 2014, lived up to their reputation from the offset with hard hitting heavy riffs and stunning vocals from front woman Emma Gallagher. From start to finish this set was filled with powerful mosh pit worthy guitar riffs, gut shaking bass lines and crazy ‘Travis Barker-esque’ drum fills accompanied with expert stage presence and constant band interaction that projected excitement into the watchful eyes of the crowd, creating what seemed to be a contagious head banging state of being that even infected me during their extremely catchy latest single ‘Limits’. After having seen this band on stage I instantly understood the ever growing hype that continues to grow and propel them to higher heights in the music scene.
Finally it came time to close the show, and what a closing act it was. As smoke filled the blacked out stage, suddenly a lone silhouette appeared in front of the blue ‘Radar’ logo background wielding a guitar. Suddenly the silence of anticipation was broken with sounds of this figure on stage using the sound of this guitar to summon the crowd back to the dance floor, beers in hand, ready and willing to experience the sounds of Chocolate Love Factory. This band got right off the mark with captivating hard rock frantic riffs that had the whole audience head banging from the very beginning. Seemingly drawing inspiration from bands such as the Queens of the Stone Age, Chocolate Love Factory clearly knew how to put on a show, at one point having so many arms waving in the air from the crowd, that it cast a shadow of a snake pit on the wall.
Throughout this hard rock charismatic fuel injected set, Chocolate Love Factory delivered ear catching, attitudefilled powerful guitar melodies that had the entire crowd (and even the bar staff) facing the stage like hypnotised meerkats craving more of their catchy tunes. During the set they showcased their latest single ‘Motivator’, which in drawing comparisons to the music video, is much like an unstoppable raging bull guaranteed for future success, as its simplistic catchy chorus instantly sticks in your mind.
As Chocolate Love Factory finished the night with a hard hitting, crowd pleasing extended outro that topped the night off with the cherry on top of the icing on the cake, one could not help but feel upset that the night had come to an end and the last chord had rang out around the building. These three bands showcased the great talent of local music that is out there to be discovered in our own cities and towns, and I for one will be looking out for Chocolate Love Factory, Making Monsters and Green Monkey on gig posters, eagerly awaiting to see them again, and would highly recommend that you the reader join me for what I can guarantee would be another great show. Niall Donnelly, GiggingNI.com