Charlie’s Bar: The Divils, Riot Upstairs, Attack the Day and Paro
Even with the lacklustre crowd at the previous gig at Charlie’s Bar on the 18th of March, there is still a buzz about the local area.
Perhaps it is the potential debut of new bands or perhaps it is just a day better suited to hold a gig, but whatever it is, it is needless to say that this gig will be one to remember.
The first band to take the stage is ‘Paro’ which coincidently marks the Omagh band’s debut appearance at Charlie’s Bar. This was also lead singer Kevin Rafferty’s first gig with the band, who although initially nervous, managed to deliver the goods. His stage presence was rigid, but this was counteracted by his interaction with the crowd in-between songs. Rome wasn’t built in a day, but as time progresses, I can see Kevin becoming a real asset for the band.
The band kicked of their set with ‘Slither’ from Velvet Revolver’s debut album which was a respectable cover with great instrumentation. This was followed up by ‘Lazaretto’ by Jack White which really highlighted Kevin’s strength as a singer. This was further reaffirmed by their brilliant cover of ‘Brianstorm’ by the Arctic Monkeys.
Drummer Joseph Herberger is a tremendous talent on his instrument and his performance provided a solid backbone for the band’s set. He has such talent for his age that I look forward to see what the future brings for him. He pairs well with his partner in crime, bassist Connor Conway which was evident in their performance of the Muse instrumental ‘Helsinki Jam’ which I never tire of seeing live.
This is followed by a cover of ‘No One Knows’ by Queens of the Stone Age which was a fine example of Eoin Monaghan’s talent on the guitar. I honestly couldn’t fault his performance and perhaps this was due to Eoin having complete focus on playing guitar and not having to worry about being a lead vocalist. In regards to the aforementioned cover, I believe that the band give fellow Omagh rockers ‘Part Time Pilots’ who also perform this song a run for their money. The band concluded their set with ‘Little Monsters’ by Royal Blood and left the stage to a great reception from the crowd.
The next band to take the stage is local lads ‘Attack the Day’ who continue to go from strength to strength. The band kicked of their set with a one-two punch of Punk with covers of ‘Baby (You Don’t Wanna Know)’ and ‘Murder the Government’. Daithi’s stage presence was extremely energetic and almost crossed the line into being a surrealist art performance. When he wasn’t lying on the ground, he took any opportunity that he could to climb on the bar’s furniture. As I was taking photographs, I lost track of Daithi, only to find him on the floor and me almost standing on his head. He is one of the most visceral lead singers that I have seen perform at Charlie’s Bar and really adds the quintessential live element to the band.
Their debut EP was represented by the inclusion of ‘Alive’ which melded well with their performance of ‘Bulls on Parade’ by Rage Against the Machine. After performing ‘Bridges to Burn’, the band announce that they will be debuting a new song called ‘Part to Play’ which will be featured on the band’s upcoming EP. If this song is anything to go by, then their upcoming release with eclipse their previous EP Shadows.
This was my second opportunity to see the band perform with this line up and I have to say that guitarist Mark Cadden is holding his ground. With fewer people to share the spotlight with, Mark has had to step up and fill the void. As nerve wrecking as this situation might be, Mark does not show it and takes it in his stride. Shane McGovern is a hard-hitting and reliable drummer who always holds his end of the bargain; he meshes well with bassist and backing vocalist, Ciaran Fitzpatrick. Alongside his duties, Ciaran helps to compliment Daithi with a lively and frantic stage presence. The band concluded their set with their reliable cover of ‘Omen’ by Prodigy which never fails to impress.
The penultimate band to take the stage is Derry’s ‘Riot Upstairs’ who brought an enjoyable performance of Pop tinged Indie Rock to the stage at Charlie’s Bar. Lead singer and occasional guitarist, Hannah Richardson brought a solid and energetic performance which was full of heart and soul. The band kicked of their set with ‘Just Not Ready’ and didn’t stop the momentum by going straight into ‘Third Round’. Caolan brought a rock and roll swagger to the performance with his guitar playing which tread the line between indie and Hard Rock.
Hannah took a moment to mention to the crowd that Ella De Niji was filling in for their regular bassist Mark Doherty. This admittedly took me by surprise as the onstage chemistry and quality of her performance led me to believe that she was their full time bass player. I later found out that she had in fact performed with them in the past. John Goodman was superb in his role as drummer with his performance interesting to listen to and creative enough to cause me to pay close attention to his playing. He provided a solid foundation for the band and worked well as a member of the rhythm section with bassist Ella. The band concluded their set with ‘Greebo’ and left the stage to a positive reception from the crowd.
The headline act for the night was Ska-Punk band ‘The Divils’ who travelled all the way from Dublin, which if nothing else shows dedication for their music. They band kicked of their set with ‘Neighbourhoods’ which started off with some interesting, almost progressive instrumentation before giving way to some beautiful Ska-Punk riffs and introspective lyrics. Their material spoke about the plight of the working class, the unemployed and every day experiences. The lyrics when combined with lead singer and guitarist Rosco Rasco’s vocals lent a sense of honesty and realism to the material.
Gazza Derelict is a fantastic drummer and is truly an asset to any band that I have seen him perform live with. His sense of timing, rhythm and creativity greatly contributed to the material and provided the necessary platform for remainder of the instrumentation. Bassist Dan Burke was no slouch on his instrument either and was fantastic throughout their set.
A standout moment was during the performance of their final song ‘Pat Kenny’ which has one of the most catchy and incendiary set of lyrics I have heard in some time. When Rosco sings “I wish I could be a smug rich prick like Pat fucking Kenny, because he’s not on welfare…” you can believe the honesty and conviction in his voice. The Divils are a fantastic band with a solid live performance and catchy songs with depth to them. I hope it won’t be too long until they make another appearance at Charlie’s Bar or somewhere nearby in the foreseeable future.
The night was fantastic and it was clear from looking around me that the people in attendance certainly enjoyed themselves, especially during the final set of the evening were there was plenty of skanking on the dance floor. Even though there has been a few misses over the past few months, there has been a resurgence in the Enniskillen gig scene and it is my hope that this continues. Gigs such as this are evident that Enniskillen is one of the best places to play and watch live music.