Recently a question popped up on social media asking about everyone’s favourite gig or a particular ‘landmark’ show that you were a part of before the act propelled to stardom. I selected Two Door Cinema Club who played in the old Spring and Airbrake venue a few months before their lives got turned around.
How a band could so suddenly turn from trying ridiculously hard to get peoples’ attention turned away from the bar to an army of adoring fans worldwide, selling out shows left, right and centre. I’m going to revise that answer and include Friday 23rd May 2014 into that select list when Malibu Shark Attack performed live in Belfast.
The story of Malibu Shark Attack is not your usual one. In fact, it’s almost completely unbelievable. One half is Rocky O’Reilly, famed for Oppenheimer and producer of Start Together Studios in Belfast, and the other is Tribe One, a rapper from Atlanta, Georgia. Yep, that’s America. Both musicians have spent the last year and a bit creating an incredibly great album, via email. Music tracks here, vocal tracks there, cropping and changing, back and forth or so I’d imagine.
They both met less than a week ago. They played a few shows in the mainland before travelling back to Belfast and performing a live show, adding a drummer, Lee McMahon, into the set the SAME day with only x hours practice. Regardless of your talent, that is hard. But it worked very well.
Kicking off the night and getting bums off seats, Bee Mick See stepped onto the floor with backing tracks at the ready and the wonderful Ciara Donnelly of Yellowbridge accompanying him. ‘Single’ is simply a great tune. It’s catchy and the lyrics guide you throughout with frontman Brendan Seamus commanding the crowd with his stage antics. Brendan takes the pleasure of describing his journey to Belfast with ‘We Took a Dive’ before instructing the crowd to sit on the floor for latest single ‘Love’ where Ciara demonstrates her great vocal ability. If tonight is anything to go by, upcoming album ‘The Belfast Yank’ will be a gem.
Also making their debut tonight were the Strathern brothers Owen and Edna, formerly of General Fiasco, now in Oh Volcano. Weeks ahead of McHughs, they released ‘Oceans’ – a sharp turn from their previous indie beginnings. It proved successful live with a mash-up of tunes that kept the heads in the crowd nodding and applauding after every song. Throughout they demonstrated their ability to consistently deliver catchy melodies and whilst it’s strange not seeing a drummer behind, we’re into a new era and with more confidence and experience in delivering this set, their reputation is bound to grow. I’ll be certain to keep a keen eye on them in the coming months.
But the main event – with some even travelling all the way from Atlanta, Georgia for it (see what I did there?!) – Malibu Shark Attack arrived on stage with drummer and combination of Bee Mick See and Ciara Donnelly to assist them throughout. With a brief introduction, they kicked straight into ‘Moment of Truth’ with the crowd now aware that there was to be no awkward stage presence.
Tribe One’s tall stature commanded the front as his ability to rap was clear to see and the flow throughout the band was incredible. ‘Better Off as Friends’ sparked frenzy in the crowd as jumping began throughout the chorus before ‘Yo into New York’ informed the crowd of their intentions to include them as Street Fighter uppercut fist pumps indicated chants of ‘Yo!’
Having listened to their album and soon falling in love with it after only several plays, it has now become a constant fixture in my every day music playlist. ‘Plans for the Weekend’ is easily one of the best tracks on the album. On a live setting, Tribe One amazes the crowd with his insanely fast vocals, not missing a word on it and equally fascinating ‘Doing It Wrong’, an honest account of past experiences. It’s hard to believe that it has all become together so well, after only hours of being together.
This may be jumping the gun a little bit but with more experience together, the potential is there for big, big things. I believe that they can make this happen. Mark Dunn, GiggingNI.com