Freak’s are nowhere near as freakish as their name, nor as terrifying as their misplaced apostrophe suggests.
They’re quite pleasantly indie, with the likeably cracking vocal usually associated with a juvenile frontman. At times the drummer and bassist seem to be locked in a battle of tempo and wills but this is unimportant when faced with their nonsensically upbeat choruses. It’s never quite anthemic as they never seem to either wake up or wake us up but it’s solidly nice, with deliberately skittish rhythms which would be reminiscent of The Maccabees if the guitar had a touch more jangle.
You get the impression Katie Richardson has been listening to an awful lot of Stevie Nicks lately. There are worse people to channel though, as Richardson’s new project Goldie Fawn showcases their collection of rousing late-night torch songs which do touch something musically retro, and welcomed. The tracks have more of a heavier rock sound than most familiar with Richardson’s previous musical incarnations were expecting, the slicked-back bassist driving the mood along with occasional 70s-style synth samples tick-tocking underneath. With ‘Something Beautiful’ you can tell this is indeed their attempt to create something beautiful, a centrepiece. A builder of a song, one of those that has the lyrical repetition that sits so well inside your head you feel the absence when it finishes.
The atmosphere is experiencing a steady climb, both the numbers and the audience excitement increasing, in case anyone forgot this evening is supposed to have a pinnacle. We’re here to celebrate the debut album launch of Bee Mick See, the Portland born turned pure Belfast rapper. The Belfast Yank does exactly what it says on the tin: fuses the styles of 90s hip-hop with breathless raised inflection rap and an unashamedly broad Belfast accent that, while comical, can be taken seriously the more you listen to it.
Six people crammed onto The Bar With No Name’s stage only serves to ramp up the energy even higher, the band taking their cue from Brendan Seamus’ jolly hyperactivity. You can’t deny there’s a party taking place. Every instrument is manipulated to exert maximum fun potential. Guitars jangle when they’re not rocking out. The bass lollops along like an enthusiastic puppy while Bee himself expresses so much joy he’s almost – metaphorically, of course – humping the leg of the audience. There’s even a keytar!
It’s unclear if the audience know quite what’s going on but they know they want to join, as during ‘Who Likes Laughing?’ the call and response gets louder as the newbies pick up the lyrics, Bee the children’s TV presenter encouraging us all to raise our voices. And that’s the theme of the entire evening. Memorable titles are thrown at us: ‘Single’, Awkward’ and those who fall outside Mick See’s singalong radar are caught on the edges by his duetting partner, Yellowbridge’s Ciara Donnelly who snarls naysayers into submission. For all this encouragement, the only sour note is that even though the atmosphere reaches the audience, the lyrics don’t always. Mick See’s rapid delivery is lost under the bass and drums and love song to a Fermanagh girl ‘My Favourite’ ends up limited to the only phrases we can catch: the occasional “chamomile tea” and “Deep Heat”. To turn the only negative into a positive though, if this album launch was your first Bee Mick See experience, then buying the album will fill in the blanks in your lyrical knowledge. Elizabeth McGeown, GiggingNI.com