live review ~ shizz the fest 2014 ~ limelight 1, belfast ~ part 1

To take eight of the countries most exciting local bands and provide a platform as culturally significant as Belfast's Limelight for them, was always going to be an audacious challenge. Then again, for local music promoter and music affectionado Jonny McKee (founder and MD of the much loved Shizznigh Promotions) the idea of anything less than captivating is a foreign concept. Here we saw the results of a Summer's worth of organisation, culminating in some memorable performances and many more memories.

Arriving at Belfast's Limelight 1 at the respectable time of 6:45 sadly proved too late to catch mysterious openers The Racks early introduction. Thanking those who had caught the dawn of the cities newest local music festival, the band soon claimed they were 'Off to get drunk' after criticising themselves all to harshly. On the contrary, the only aspect up for critique lay in the turn-out, a dedicated but dwindling collective who were treated to a barrage of indie rock, inspired by it's arthouse forefathers. Indeed, the intelligent lyricism and melody which flowed through much of The Racks set was a pleasure to witness, even if the stage presence lacked a certain desire. Having said that, performing to an empty cavern of lackluster applause was never going to be a great motivator. A fine effort under difficult circumstances, it's important The Racks bounce back from this.

Despite our deserved reputation as a country punching well above our musical weight, even the most hardened local music fanatic (of which we have many) would be hard pressed to explain just what we've done to deserve In An Instant. The Bangor born four piece once again showcased their passion and talent in a set of pulsating electricity. Each time they take to the stage, the sparks of something very special return brighter than before; a rare quality indeed. The already epic 'Keep On Moving With Your Heart In Place' highlights the sonic maturity of a band surely not far off very big things indeed.

Sadly for electro-pop trio Loris, the cavern of an empty dance floor once again became a reality at the start of their set. Rather than deter them, instead this seemed to inspire the ambient dream weavers, front woman Frances Mitchell in particular fine voice throughout. Imploring a Bastille dynamic with synth overtones, the Kate Bush-esque vocals float eerily over syncopated rhythms. The further they push their boundaries, the more you really begin to appreciate Loris, a band of quiet brilliance.

Following Loris came the swirling whirlwind of The Couth, a band emerging from a punk transition with impressive results. Songs like 'Down By The River', 'Suck My Honey' and 'Cycles' now sway with an increasingly comfortable snarl, no better captured than in the furious bass lines of Matthew McCrum. The band seem to embrace the might of a larger stage with ease, frontman Dave McCrum needing no encouragement to scream into the mic at every opportunity. The Clash like menace compliments the bands youthful verve, resulting in songs as rambunctiously enjoyable as their EP title track 'Bloodbreaker'. The highlight of the set came in it's finale, 'We Spent The Night Together', a song of cautious sentiment which clearly means a lot to the band.

Part 2 // Coming Soon

Taylor Johnson

For all official band news, follow the links below⁞►

The Racks ~ For fans of: The Strypes, The Fratellis

In An Instant ~ For fans of: Two Door Cinema Club, Snow Patrol, U2

Loris ~ For fans of: Bastille, CHVRCHES

The Couth ~ For fans of: The Clash, The Strokes, Sex Pistols

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