Review: Beauty Sleep, Party Fears & HAWK – The Menagerie, Belfast
Back with a new single, local favourites Beauty Sleep packed out The Menagerie for Big Wild Collective’s third showcase. Joined by Berlin bands and old tour mates HAWK and Party Fears to help launch their new track in style, the night boasted a unique line-up not to be missed. Several familiar faces from the NI music scene could also be spotted in the crowd, including Derry’s Susie Blue.
Kicking things off were grungy trio HAWK, whose rumbling bass shakes the small venue as friends and fans help themselves to free stickers and CDs at the door. The band stands like gothic shadows with their dark clothes in contrast to the sparkling fairy lights of the stage backdrop. Their sludgy riff-driven rock and bellowing vocals explode into crashing choruses, oscillating between gloomy and up-tempo. Despite their dark intensity, HAWK’s politically-charged music is all about “finding space”.
The second support act is Party Fears, a trio formed in South Korea with members from Germany, Australia and, um, Cookstown. The group puts on an energetic performance and exchanges banter with the audience; frontwoman Maggie Devlin dances across the stage and even into the crowd whilst twirling the microphone cord.
Their sound marries garage rock with pop sensibilities and brings a hint of something summery to this cold February night (really, The Menagerie is freezing). Catchy riffs and funky drumbeats abound – with an album already under their belt, Party Fears are bursting with radio potential.
Tonight’s gig is extra special for Beauty Sleep as it marks their first ever show as headliners since they became a band. They open with ‘All In’, which encapsulates their brand of deliciously danceable indie pop. Lead vocalist Cheylene Murphy’s pink hair matches her outfit as she dances under the muted stage lights. All dreamy synths and poppy guitar, Cheylene and guitarist Ryan’s cascading harmonies create tunes as infectious as their enthusiasm.
The atmosphere is relaxed and intimate, with band members often swapping instruments for different tracks. ‘The Feeling Back’, the single Beauty Sleep are launching tonight, is well received by fans.
It brings a more disco-influenced element to their sound and will make a great addition to the arsenal of songs they already have for their upcoming debut album. “This is our last song and then we should all have a drink,” Ryan announces before the trio launches into their defining single ‘The Dark’. Beauty Sleep are a local band to genuinely get excited about.
‘The Feeling Back’ is out on 9th February.