REVIEW: Set the Stage & Volume Control – Nerve Centre, Derry

vcstsTonight, the second installment of Set The Stage and Volume Control’s music crossover takes place in Derry’s Nerve Centre.

Coming up to the Maiden City to perform alongside Derry rock outfit The Wood Burning Savages are Serotonin-Band, Hurdles, R51, Rebecca Mulhern, The Clandestines and Cahal O Connell. A huge line up of bright young diverse talent.

Cahal O Connell opens the evenings early start of music swiftly followed by The Clandestines warming up the small but keen crowd of young music lovers. The four piece, fronted by Rebecca Mulhern, deliver a short set combining acoustic strums, bass and drums with a folky rock sound.

Wasting no time between sets, Rebecca Mulhern takes to the stage performing solo for her second set of the night. With only her acoustic guitar, she gives a stripped back performance her balanced, velvety voice shines as she sings with reflective emotion.

After Rebecca’s gentle tones, the atmosphere cranks up as Serotonin burst onto the stage with raw energy and striking beats. Immersing into their performance of punk rock tracks with confidence and drive, they end rewarded with appreciative applause.

With seven bands to fit into four hours, following a short break Hurdles take to the stage. The Dungannon based quartet open with ‘Closer‘ bringing once again change of genre. Their half hour set of upbeat tracks show the band flowing with light bass riffs and expertly synchronised drums and delivering a light fresh indie pop style. Smooth vocals and harmonies showcase their distinctive sound as they perform in unity. Ending with popular crowd pleaser ‘France‘ with its infectious riff, funky elements and delicate cymbals, we are left on a high as the positive upbeat lyrics soak in.

After Hurdles’ outstanding performance R51 are next up before the evenings’ headliners. The five piece female fronted band launch with ‘Jupiter‘, an appetizer before new EP title track ‘Pillowtalk‘. With three bass guitars and drums, the band bring a steady strong rhythm alongside Melyssa Shannons’ feisty, passionate voice. They let go and give it their all with a rousing cover of Bjork’s ‘Play Dead’, fully engaging with the music. After ‘I Could Kill You Sometimes‘ with its fiery beat transitioning to lingering riffs, smooth bridges and attitude, R51 climax their set with ‘I Hate That Too’– Fast, loud and hard with sultry vocals.

The intimate crowd are now fully primed for The Wood Burning Savages who enthusiastically charge the eager audience with passionate furious drums and bass guitar. The seven song exhibition gives a mixture of old favourites as well as brand new tracks. Lead singer Paul Connolly builds a rapport with crowd talking as if we are old friends before leading into sentimental, dreamy ‘This House‘, delivered by the whole band with conviction, uncovering a deeper layer of their collective personality. The rhythmic tones of ‘America‘ is next, Pauls’ resonant voice and energetic performance bounces off the dancing crowd. Ending with new single ‘Sisters Of Mercy’, the night of diverse music closes with punch, the audience responding with exuberant satisfied cheers. Stacy Fitzpatrick, GiggingNI.com