LIVE: The Subways – Limelight, Belfast

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Back on the 7th March 2008, The Subways were the headline performers in the then, Spring and Airbrake.

That night they were briefly joined on stage by no other than the iconic Peter Hook, of Joy Divison & New Order fame. They were also supported a lesser known band at the time, the Foals, who gave a curious performance, but as we know have gone on to achieve great things…

Tonight, over 6 years later, The Subways were back in the Limelight complex to muster the Belfast crowd in frenzy.

This time they were supported by 2 bands, ‘Purple‘ & ‘Young Aviators‘. Sadly this gig goer did not get down in time to catch Purple but having just left the stage, the already decent sized crowd seemed lively from what they had just heard.

Next up we had Young Aviators. We were told that they were mostly Belfast born, now residing in Glasgow. The first track initially started with subtly echoey vocals through the verse before the near thrash metal screams for the chorus taking the Belfast crowd by surprise.

Other songs were anthemic and at times, sounded like a nod to Pulp. Overall they were well received by the crowd and the fact that a blonde bob haired member of The Subways was spotted in the crowd watching the majority of their set is a good indication of the quality of the band. They left the stage to a rousing cheer from the crowd and requests of an encore. Check these guys out!

Next up was the main attraction, The Subways. The British rock trio made their way onto the stage under a low lit and in an understated manor and immediately licked off with one of their older and well known tracks, ‘Oh Yeah’. Immediately the crowd roared to hearing a much loved and familiar track.

Lead vocalist Billy Lunn followed this up by introducing Charlotte Cooper leading into their second track, ‘Shake Shake’. Lunn is very good at engaging and energising the crowd throughout the show and in this day and age of alternative acts being criticised for their lack of audience engagement, Lunn should be commended.

The trio progressed through the energetic set rapidly with tracks such as ‘Mary’, new single ‘I’m In Love And It’s Burning In My Soul’ as well as more well known tracks ‘Mary’ & ‘Kiss Kiss Bang Bang‘. The pop infused garage rock sound as well as the energetic performance from Lunn & Cooper was well received with the Belfast crowd to took every opportunity to sing along especially when it came to their most known track, ‘Rock and Roll Queen’.

Later Lunn called out that it has been almost 10 years since the unveiling of their first album and a time when they won the Glastonbury emerging talent competition. The Subways are a rarity of types. A large portion of indie acts that tasted success in the 2000’s are no longer and it has been the hard working nature of the band to overcome the obstacles associated with so many bands of this period that have led to this longevity.

Some could argue that while the likes of the Foals have went off and honed their sound to critical and commercial acclaim, The Subways have delivered more of the same. However another way to look at it is they have stayed together surviving almost a decade of touring, writing and releasing new material. The Subways are living testament to the saying, if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it! Michael Chapman, GiggingNI.com