gig review ~ radar presents... ~ adultrock, go wolf, not squares ~ speakeasy

There was a relaxed, jubilant vibe around Belfast's Speakeasy tonight, as Radar productions put on their first show in months (for free we might add) with performances from Irish DJ Adultrock, indie-pop group Go Wolf and headliners Not Squares. With the next generation of University students on the brink of flocking to the venue through the fast approaching Freshers Week, it was a chance for the old guard to let their hair down and dance amongst themselves one last time. Taylor Johnson joined the party...

It can be rather daunting for even the most experience of DJ's when faced with a small audience in a big venue, however Adultrock coped admirably in these same circumstances. The Irish DJ's trademark pounding, bass heavy grooves and antithetic melodies had those who were on their feet nodding approvingly, while those who weren't seemed to simply relax letting each song wash over them. At times, Adultrock's rhythmic bass lines was almost soothing, gently rocking the venue before picking up the face for any climactic conclusions. Despite virtually no crowd interaction, you could tell he was really enjoying the experience, his energy and constant concentration evident in every considered groove and well timed effect. Unusually, each track seemed to be very clearly defined, as Adultrock cast aside the usual layout of a DJ set in order to showcase each individual track with a start and an ending. Although this served to briefly spark a warm response from the audience, you can't help but feel he lost key momentum in the process and may have been more consistent had each track faded into eachother. In all, it was a solid set from the seasoned producer, and the fact that he almost doubled his crowd by the end of his set is a testament to his professionalism and experience.

As the lap top and complex technology of Adultrock's set was dismembered, on came the keyboard and colorful guitars of Belfast's newest Indie-pop noise makers Go Wolf. The stunning synth driven four piece thrive off the soaring, pristine vocal harmonies of keyboardist Anna Leydon and guitarist Scott Jamison. The pair have a Damien Rice and Lisa Hannigan dynamic, with similar tones, but completely contrasting sounds. Scott Jamison's vocal also has the unmistakable tone of a young Brandon Flowers. From the outset, this rush of catchy melodies, reverberated guitar solos and harmonious vocal deliveries had the audience dancing. particularly the single 'Voices' which highlighted the bands commercial appeal with a song that you could easily imagine fronting the next Northern Ireland tourist board campaign, which kick started the massive success of Silhouette's 'Can't Keep Up'. Though the highlight of the set came with the beautifully written 'Even God'. Lyrically heartbreaking and honest, the depths of this song show that Go Wolf have the emotional fragility to compliment their natural enthusiasm and pop forefront. 'Discussing the reasons why, you'd wanna disappear,  it's not get left behind, but anywhere else has gotta be better than here... '. With subtle hints of Two Door Cinema Club's sense of melody and punchy lyricism, Go Wolf are fronting the 80's influenced resurgence with a refreshingly modern approach, taking the best of that periods synth driven pop and adding a contemporary spin that can appeal to a younger generation. Go Wolf are a band worth getting excited for.

Around midnight the nights headliners, Not Squares, took to the stage. Heavily synthesised, highly distorted and full of confidence, No Squares return to the Speakeasy was greeted like returning hero's, rapturous applause becoming the consistent backdrop for a now packed venue. The bands brand of atmospheric, electro house had so many influences it was at times difficult to know where they stand. Towards the beginning of the gig they delivered a Kraftwerk inspired synthesised showcase, which descended into a faster paced Daft Punk styled middle section and rounded off like Depeche Mode on acid. Don't get me wrong though, No Squares barrage of noise wasn't at any stage poor quality. Michael Kinloch's strong vocal performance was, at times, like a young James Kerr (Simple Minds dynamic frontman), although, musically it couldn't have been further from the Scottish groups ballad-rock. Keith Winter's impeccable drumming also never faltered, despite fast paced and complex rhythms and by the end of the night the group were rewarded for their tightness as a unit as the whole venue chanted along o every 'oh', 'woah' and keyboard note.You could also never be sure when proceedings had drawn to a close, as the band stopped and started several times in the final song, which although compelling for an infatuated audience, had this reviewer feeling that a quality ending had been dragged out by ten or so unnecessary minutes, though, having said that, it only succeeded in getting the crowd pumped up further. They left the stage to cheers of adoration. The peopel had came to dance and there is absolutely no doubt that No Squares allowed them to do just that.

Taylor Johnson.

Keep up to date with all the bands below by following the links.

Go Wolf
Not Squares

Not Squares 'greeted like returning hero's'

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