Within Northern Ireland, bands and musicians often speak about how blessed we are to have so much local talent at our doorstep – and it’s true – and how our famous residents such as Ash, Two Door Cinema Club and Snow Patrol’s Gary Lightbody are championing the city as a key music hub.
Well Sous Le Monde kicked off things for us in the Pavilion on Saturday and they were refreshing. Coming up from Londonderry, the four-piece started proceedings with a sure-footed step forward. There were cheers throughout their set as the band went from song to song, convincingly stopping to say the right things at the right times like seasoned professionals. Kevin Nash, frontman of the Derry outfit, commanded the stage with a voice that could impress the strictest critic. Their final song was brilliant – the perfect closing to their set as they bowed out in style. They play at Bennigans Bar, Derry on 18th December 2015.
After a brief switchover, Viper Wine climbed on the Pavilion stage for their set. A simple set-up of guitar, bass and drums would gift the impression of simplistic music but it was anything but. Strong basslines and thumping drum-lines helped create the impression of a well rehearsed band. In fact, this was only their second show. Guitarist and frontman, Conor Maxwell, has a strong voice but came across a little too strong when mid-set the band went a little ‘Territioral Pissings‘ on the crowd – something not many were expecting. Their last song redeemed their set and sent them off on a fine-tuned note.
After a short delay, High Sundays arrived, literally, on stage and straight into a high energy performance with impressive dance moves in tow. They are blessed with exceptional musicial talent with an array of slap bass and fret-melting solos to wow the crowd – including a cover of The Weekend’s hit ‘I Can’t Feel My Face’. They launched confidently into special performances of Red Hot Chilli Peppers’ covers such as ‘Under the Bridge’ and ‘Dani California’ but no doubt the highlight of their set for me was their song ‘Animated Angels‘ – an excellent example of fine, distinctive funk rock. Without doubt, one of my favourite songs this year. A must see in 2016.
As the night drew to a close, EQ1NIX took to the stage as a crowd gathered just in front of the stage as the band launched into their set. After speaking with the guys ahead of the show, I was impressed by their showmanship and unity on stage as smiles and a great stage captivated the audience. It’s refreshing when ‘Hidden Truth’ is performed. It’s a fantastic tune aligned with their cover of The Kooks’ ‘Naive’ to set feet into motion within the crowd.
Their fusion of pop rock is delicate, at times heavier but with the possibility of silencing a room. It’s that flexibility that gives EQ1NIX an edge. Colin Mallon’s vocals aren’t overbearing and remain constantly charming while guitarist, Gavin Kennedy, and bassist, Chris Byrne, provide a balancing act on backing vocals to give yet another dimension to the band. This could be the finished article. I’m positive it’s not far from it. ‘Pushed for Time‘ concluded their set, leaving audience clapping and me more convinced that EQ1NIX are on the up. I sure hope they achieve anything they aim to because this is one band I believe could reach the heights.