All I can say to begin this review is to you the reader that wasn’t present at this gig…WHY WERENT YOU THERE?! Acoustic sets, mosh pits, loud adrenaline filled rock n roll, cheap drink, a crowd of music loving addicts and good vibes all round, everything a Friday night needs, and this gig had it all. Never one to shy away from a good gig, the second I was approached about doing a review about Terror Pockets EP Launch I couldn’t help but jump at the opportunity, as from what I had heard previously about this band, it was certain to be a great show.
The night kicked off with Ryan Mills playing the first of two acoustic sets. From the beginning Ryan laid out some brilliantly executed tunes that allowed the anticipation for the rest of the night grow. To be first on stage at any gig is never the easiest of tasks to carry out, as you play to the most sober eyes and unwilling minds of the night, and if you aren’t good enough then you are the one at risk of being forgotten about, Ryan Mills however, did not fall victim to the ‘first act curse’, as his entire set was carried out with sheer professionalism, showcasing impressive guitar skills and a vocal performance that at times reminded me personally of the likes of Ben Howard.
The second act on was Connaire Pelan, playing through an acoustic set made up of original songs that thoroughly impressed, and excellent crowd pleasing covers such as Amy Winehouse’s ‘Valerie’, much like Ryan Mills, Connaire Pelan was able to showcase a powerful vocal performance, his voice throughout was filled with a level of emotion that grabbed the attention of everyone there watching and left no shadow of a doubt that he felt every word that he was singing. As a whole, I have seen many acoustic acts during my time going to gigs and I must say that these two where some of the best I have seen up until now.
Once the acoustic sets had taken place and even more people had made the trip down to Bar Sub, it was time to get loud and turn the chilled out mellow feeling that the first two acts had so successfully created into a ‘get on your feet and dance’ frenzy. Tasked with starting this off was Gone All Year, performing what I later found out to be the bands first gig together, making what they pulled off even more impressive. Their set was jam packed with an exciting fresh youthful sound that drew comparisons to the likes of Blink 182 and Fall Out Boy at times. Throughout the set what was a clear backbone to the band were the immense drumming skills on show, the rhythmic perfection banging out from the drum kit accompanied by the brilliant vocals, solid gut thumping bass lines and the excellent harmonisation of two clearly skilled guitarists whose powerful riffs and slick flicks created a altogether fun upbeat impressive set.
After Gone All Year had hit out the last chord of their set, rather than a calming of the crowd, instead a buzz began to grow more and more, it was obvious everyone was eagerly awaiting the Terror Pockets to light the stage up, and how they did. To begin, Matt O’Reilly, front man of the Terror Pockets took to the stage, acoustic guitar in hand, and summoned the crowd to the dance floor with a solo tune that from start to finish had the crowd captivated. Then came the rest of the band, Ryan Henry on guitar, Jack Crangle on Bass and Michael Stewart behind the drums, the buzz in the crowd grew further as the stage filled, a slow rhythmic drum roll started their set, building up the rock n roll gauge ready to blow the roof of the place as Matt continually interacted with the crowd willing them to get involved and enjoy the bands set the only way one could, on their feet, surrounded by other music lovers ready to experience the show.
The set was filled with brilliant covers to accompany the bands original songs, a cover of the crowd favourite ‘Blitzkrieg Bop (Hey Ho! Let’s Go!)’, by the Ramones was a personal highlight, as previous covers of this songs that I have seen have very sharply missed the mark and feeling of the original song, the Terror Pockets delivered it with a raw passion, and energy filled hunger that truly paid tribute to such a classic in the perfect way. Throughout the set it was difficult to keep your eyes off the confidence oozing, fuel injected lively stage presence in which front man Matt showed to the very end, at one time even jumping into the crowd to dance with the audience.
The band all in all created an environment in which seats shook, guts buzzed, heads banged; great tunes were shot out one after another with a refreshing desire filled feeling that made it easy to see the band loved every second of being on the stage. They were so popular with the Bar Sub audience that they were even called upon to play an encore as others chanted the band’s name and all copies of the EP were snatched up.
Overall the Terror Pockets are a no messing about, screw your effects and fancy haircuts, simple straight to the point band that knew how to put on a rock n roll extravaganza, something that has been missing in the music scene for some time now, I could go on trying to explain just how good this band were but regardless of what I write, this is a band you NEED to see live, as they showcase the true talent that is on offer around the Northern Ireland music scene and will leave your ears ringing in the best way possible, providing you with what could only be a great night. Niall Donnelly, GiggingNI.com