Waldorf & Cannon are that mix between The Beastie Boys and Royal Blood that we didn’t know we wanted, but now we have it we can’t get enough. On Thursday night, the unique duo brought their fresh take on music to The Empire in their first headline show. After seeing the band support Cabbage in Voodoo earlier in the year I knew we were in for a treat.
Local Belfast band, The Crossfire Hurricanes, preceded our main headliners of the night. The band have become known for their unblemished fusion of blues and rock and roll mixed with incredibly confident live sets.
The guys played a range of tracks that were received very well from the crowd, including “Romancing Revolution”, “Music Maker” and arguably their most well-known track “The Morning After Showdown”. Every single song in the setlist was performed faultlessly as the husky vocals, punk-bluesy edge (a difficult genre hybrid to pull off) and their incredible self-assurance whilst on stage. The band set the scene for the main headliners perfectly and certainly did not disappoint with their ever-textbook set.
As The Crossfire Hurricanes had finished their slot it was difficult not to notice the unique set up we have come to know from Waldorf & Cannon. Their guitar, bass, footdrum kit and harmonica is almost an alien set up as we have become so used to seeing either an acoustic set or “full band”. It is refreshing to see the duo do something outside of the box and experiment with their sound.
Their set kicked off with the rowdy “Rise Up”, the title track off their debut album Old Dogs New Tricks. The harmonies in this track are fantastic as the two plays of each other’s strengths. From the get go, the guys brought their absolute all to the set as their energy and music was faultless. They even perfectly mixed audience interaction with banter amongst one another and the odd ‘boke’ story inbetween playing.
Their set consisted of a range of tracks from their debut album, including “Bore You”, “Decipher”, “Syntax Error”. It was a mixture of utter chaos yet completely controlled at the same time. The husky vocals, RATM-esque sound and funky rock is so much to take in such a short period of time. It’s like an experience watching them play as your eyes are constantly switching between the two lads seeing who is going to do what.
One complete game changer for me is when Waldorf whips out his harmonica, whilst still playing the foot drum and guitar during “End of the Line”. The song gradually built up as it went on then the ending was crazy with a heightened tempo, faster guitar playing and flawless vocals from Cannon. The band played through their set with such ease you’d think they were jamming in the garage with one another as opposed to in front of a crowd. I was incredibly chuffed when they opted to play their cover of Beastie Boys “Sabotage”. This cover is always a crowd pleaser and perfectly demonstrates the bands diversity in their song choices.
From start to finish Waldorf & Cannon delivered everything and more to their headlining show. I only saw a snippet of them when they were supporting Cabbage and I was incredibly impressed. After leaving Empire last night even more so. They work so well beside one another and have created a very different and refreshing sound for the Northern Irish music scene.