Advertised as the Echo Raptors Christmas Show, it was perfect timing for a gig in a small venue, with a great sound, the atmosphere was laid back with people in holiday mode as the DJ warmed the crowd up with classic rock, indie and britpop anthems, from The Who, Rolling Stones, Oasis & more. Just after 10pm the Belfast lads took to the floor, as there is no stage in McHughs, it was to be a very intimate gig as eager fans now moved closer to the band.
Philip Rainey, the bands lead singer introduced the band to the crowd and kicked the show of with their recent single Real Live Wire, it’s 2 minutes 30 seconds, of bouncy rock n roll, fast paced and smashing drums making sure your foot is tapping and head nodding along to it whilst the lyrics with convince you to shout them out, it’s perfect and it suits the bands frontman as he belts out the lyrics ‘cos I’m a real live wire gonna set you on fire’ as he grooves along to the song.
Some of the bands earlier songs get an airing, She’s So Free and Idle Dream along with other songs not yet recorded by the four piece rock n roll band. The band storm through their set, only stopping to check the crowd are enjoying themselves, the best way to describe the Echo Raptors is simple rock n roll with similar sound to that of 90s Britpop but actually sounding fresh, different and very enjoyable.
Plastic People a song that sounds like it was lifted from the early 90s, a similar style to that of The Verve sees the band at their best, jangly guitar sounds start the song of as the band effortlessly and comfortably play through the song. The feedback and reaction from the crowd after the song ends tells you how well it went down.
Change My Way provokes the biggest sing along of the night as by now the crowd is almost beside the lead singer as again that jangly guitar sound accompanied by a roll of the cymbal and banging drums starts of the song, it’s just under 4 minutes of perfect guitar pop music with well written meaningful lyrics that it seems the crowd now know word by word. Shine Like The Moon was another new song which the crowd enjoyed, before an older song from the band ‘Time Bomb’ is played.
As the band announce their last song, for me it’s the highlight of the night, Feel It, starts of a lovely slow song, which takes a few different directions, has beautiful guitar riffs and grooves, changing from fast to slow and lasting near ten minutes, which has everyone dancing along, as the band jam away and the lead singer gets lost in the music, the Echo Raptors have the perfect live song here to end a gig with a bang and that they did.
The band sounded tight and more confident than ever as they treated fans to 15 songs. With new songs to be recorded and lots of more live gigs, hopefully 2015 will see Belfast’s finest rock n roll band receive more recognition and more fans. Brian Alcorn, GiggingNI.com