Independent Music Week - Oh Yeah Centre, Belfast

Review: Independent Venue Week with Ryan Vail, Jealous of The Birds, Gross Net & Cut In Blinks

During Independent Venue Week, Oh Yeah Music Centre showcased some of the finest and most promising acts on the local music scene. There was something for everyone, ranging from the haunting electronica of headliner Ryan Vail to the indie folk of Jealous of the Birds, as well as featuring sets from electronic acts Cut in Blinks and Gross Net.

The night began with a set from up and coming electronic artist Cut in Blinks. The Belfast based producer has notably been involved in the Oh Yeah Centre’s annual ‘Scratch My Progress’ talent development scheme. The set featured a collection of tracks from his debut EP “In the Mouth of the Sandbanks” and immediately created an atmosphere which would be maintained for the rest of the night. The potential of Cut in Blinks is clear to be seen and it will be exciting to follow his progress.

Gross Net was next on the bill and offered a massively experimental Electro-industrial set which built further upon the growing atmosphere. The Northern Ireland Music Prize shortlisted act drew an increasing number out of their seats and towards the stage. After this performance it was clear to see why the act is held in such high regard and it is clear that big things are on the horizon following the success of debut album ‘Quantitative Easing’.

Up next was Jealous of the Birds, fresh from a UK Tour with The Divine Comedy. The band, fronted by Naomi Hamilton, delivered an ever-enchanting performance showcasing the eclectic nature of their discography, playing a mix of tracks from their debut album ‘Parma Violets’ as well as previewing a couple of new songs.

The band debuted a new guitarist in Danny McClelland which added another layer to the band’s live show. Highlights of the set included the tranquil ‘Goji Berry Sunset’ and the title track of the debut album ‘Parma Violets’. While Jealous of the Birds were certainly outliers from the other largely electronic acts, their beautifully constructed tracks made them a welcome addition to the line-up. There is no doubt that Naomi and her band are one of the most exciting local acts around at the minute and their growth is only set to continue.

The excitement in the crowd for the headline set from Ryan Vail was massive following the three exceptional support acts, and the headliner certainly did not disappoint. The producer, whose profile has grown largely following the incredibly impressive debut release ‘For Every Silence’ in 2016, including an eclectic and incredibly impressive mix of tracks such as ‘A Strange Incident’ and ‘Wounds’. The set was completely riveting and haunting, and Ryan’s live show is truly exceptional. The set topped off a truly great night of local talent and was thoroughly enjoyed by all in attendance.

The atmosphere created at Oh Yeah Music Centre’s Independent Venue Week special was truly special and truly highlighted the spirit of the series of gigs which have been held throughout the UK, emphasising the crucial role played by Independent Venues such as the Oh Yeah Centre.