gig review ~ scratch my progress ~ hurdles, hot cops, matthew duly, r51 & serotonin

This year the highly coveted Scratch My Progress program took on five of the country's top young talents. Bending the rules ever so slightly to accommodate the incredible talent in the city, the scheme opened its doors to one more act than usual, giving them the chance to record a track, take part in a professional photoshoot and get quality advice from music industry bigwigs. The climax of the project took place in The Oh Yeah Centre, as the scheme showcased its talent in a one off gig to coincide with an EP launch of each band's recorded track. Having covered many of the chosen bands on display before, Encore NI was keen to see how the scheme had benefited Belfast's best...

Opening a show of this class seemed a daunting task, not so however for alt-rock stalwarts Serotonin, who demonstrated great maturity in a set of conviction. Lucy Loane has clearly grown into the front woman mould, her on-stage persona now as defined and confident as she is off stage. The Scratch My Progress experience has clearly done Serotonin the world of good, a rawer, Sonic Youth inspired sound beginning to take shape. You have the feeling this rawer sound has always been within them, but now they are really starting to feel it themselves, as their manic audience clearly agreed. Serotonin had a crowd up and dancing literally from pulsating opener 'Cleanse Me', making a great start to the evening. Future single "Peel" paints the most promising picture of their future, in a set full of highlights.

(R51 ~ mesmerising noise rock...)
Then came a revived R51, the five piece playing with a renewed intensity on stage. Purpose flew from every riff of Jonny Woods guitar, Aaron Black's synth adding an extra layer to their beautiful chaos. Thankfully Melyssa Shannon has retained the melodic entrancement in her vocal, Kate Bush remaining an influence. Without doubt, R51 provide the biggest performance of the night, influences of post rock past leaving their mark on an enthralling set; think Meanwhile Back In Communist Russia bred with Radiohead. A real spectacle.

Singer/songwriter Matthew Duly showed his charisma from the moment he took to the stage. Using an Elvis Presley styled 50's microphone, the Whitehead native worked his way through a collection of beautifully honed material, his falsetto stronger than ever. The newly recorded 'Summer Days' seems more refined since it's last outing, but the dual power of epic closer 'Ghost In Your Memory' (which remains Duly's lynchpin) and the climactic 'Different Colours' were definite highlights. Provided he wants it enough, Matthew Duly could be one of this countries best acoustic artists to emerge in years.

Penultimate act Hot Cops once again proved they are a very big band, with a very big sound. New single "Origami" shone in a setlist minus any of the material from their stunning debut "Another Teen Age". Carl Eccles' frontmanship is a truly important entity for the band, his relaxed demeanor a vital component in their rock & roll machine. This is not to dismiss Hot Cops rhythm section, providing a brooding, dark spectrum which casts a shadow over much of the three pieces set. Without question "Mum rock anthem" 'Decay' stood out. Heart warming and desperate in equal measure, the entire crowd were soon singing along, even those hearing it for the first time. A truly special song. "Cause I don't wanna feel it any more..."

Eccles also provided one of our favorite pieces of on stage banter..."Thanks for coming everyone, stick around cause Hurdles are on next and they love to party."

(Hot Cops ~ punk~poetry)
Finally Hurdles made their way on stage and yes, they certainly do love to party. Playing a selection of tracks from their debut EP 'Where To Start', new guitarist Thomas Bannon looks more assured than ever since joining the indie-pop quartet. Tracks like 'Roadrunner' ("I'm a big fan of Looney Tunes" admits Hanna) sound somehow bigger than in previous outings, though perhaps that is simply down to Hurdles enjoying themselves more. Ending on their newly recorded single 'France', a three minute belter of a pop tune, (that seems destined to soundtrack nightclubs across Europe) the bands new found 80's disco elements took the forefront.

It was a fine night for local music and the overwhelming appreciation for all those at Scratch My Progress was evident. This years graduates are surely the projects finest to date, raising the bar even higher for next year! We can't wait to see who makes it on to this brilliant scheme ~ it clearly makes a difference!

Taylor Johnson
Photos courtesy of  Carrie Davenport.
Serotonin: For fans of ~ Sonic Youth, Pixies ~ Facebook, Twitter
R51: For fans of ~ Meanwhile Back In Communist Russia, Radiohead, My Morning Jacket ~ Facebook, Twitter
Matthew Duly: For fans of ~ Glen Hansard, Jeff Buckley ~ Facebook, Twitter
Hot Cops: For fans of ~ Pavement, The Shins ~ Facebook, Twitter
Hurdles: For fans of ~ Two Door Cinema Club, The Strokes, Daft Punk ~ Facebook, Twitter

No comments

Powered by Blogger.