volume control records album launch party ~ a summary

It was a night steeped in expectation, excitement and fresh hope last Friday night in Belfast's Oh Yeah Music Centre, as we helped to celebrate the official launch of Volume Control Records!

On the night a selection of acts from the label's first ever compilation album (available to buy from the Oh Yeah Centre) played to a large crowd not put off by the eclectic mix of genres on show; on the contrary, the melting pot of sounds on offer acted as the catalyst for one of the most openly celebratory gigs of the year.

Opening proceedings came the effortless cool of synth-pop duo Shadow Police. After a brief break from the touring circuit the two-piece's return to the stage proved a welcome one, with an arsenal of new material at their disposal. Opening with a catchy new instrumental piece, the band's set flowed between their New Order inspired roots, to 'New Gold Dream' era Simple Minds. With a sound so clearly inspired by that golden era of UK pop music, lesser band's may be forgiven for creating a homage, rather than a stand alone back-catalog of their own. For Shadow Police, that will never be a concern, as between frontman Matty Duly's distinctive, alluring vocals and guitarist Daniel Thorton's creative soundscapes, this band will continue to push boundaries.

For former 'Project Sound' frontman Gershom Kaoma, tonight's gig held a special significance. Not only was this his first gig in Belfast, but it was also his debut under new alias 'Young G' as he performed tracks from his upcoming mix tape 'Method To The Madness'. Diving headfirst into an exhilarating set, Young G's fast paced flow and punchy lyricism at times echoed controversial rap-heavyweight Kanye West, at others, the more reserved witticism's of The Streets Mike Skinner. Joined on the night by Volume Control Record's own Andy Black on the decks, it was a grand entrance for the man heavily tipped to shake up the Northern Irish hip-hop scene. Highlight of the set was undoubtedly new single 'It's On Now', (which includes the genius line 'never hold my head in shame, lyrics, bullets Kurt Cobain') met with a rapturous reception by the crowd.

From one Belfast debut, to a grand Belfast return, as local lads The Remedy took to the stage. Another swift departure from the previous act stylistically, but never in danger of letting the high standards of the night drop. This was a performance of real intent from a four-piece missing their heart-beat, as drummer Chris Hanna was forced to watch from the crowd after sustaining an injury in the build up to the gig.

 Opening with a brand new tune after any hiatus can be a risky move, but in future single 'Live For Today' The Remedy have a special song indeed. In a set overflowing with melody, orchestral interludes and rich vocals all around, The Remedy showed that their long-awaited debut EP (due for release next year) will be one certainly worth waiting for. Dipping momentarily back into their history for the pile-driving 'I Am The One', the band then finished on their debut single 'Different Class', which continues to remain a firm highlight.

"We're Little Arcadia and we're from the North Coast!"

For a band as young as Little Arcadia, pulling the crowd they did into The Oh Yeah Centre on it's own must be considered a significant achievement. Already established in their native Coleraine as one of the most exhilarating live bands in the country, this was only their second ever gig in the capital; and as introductions go, few can be as exciting as this. Playing a set molded from their five year-long history, songs like 'FUQ' and 'Fox Polar' showcased their heavier edges, grabbing more than one comparison to a young More Than Conquerors. On the other end of the spectrum, tracks like the dance-evoking 'Monday' brought back memories of General Fiasco at their peak. Culminating in the rowsing 'Anywhere Else' (a sing-along favorite) it wont be too long before Belfast comes calling for Little Arcadia once more.

Wearing their trademark 'Homemade Salad' tee-shirts, Belfast's SALAD BOYZ blitzed their way through a tight, punk driven set at the top of our album launch bill. The 'Guinness Battle of the Bands' finalists high energy and melodic-alternative rock had the crowd bouncing, whilst songs like the stunningly beautiful 'Dreams' showed their more emotional side. The huge cheer which accompanied frontman Tommy Haghighi's introduction for 'T-4-2' ("This song is on the album, people seem to like it") showed just how much this young band have been embraced by the city. Finishing on a request for old favorite 'Balls', it was a poignant and appropriate ending to the birth of a record label determined to give something back to Belfast.

It's something we at Encore NI are very grateful to be a part of.

Taylor Johnson 

Find all the bands featured on the album below!

Little Arcadia 
The Remedy
Young G
Jealous of the Birds
Maeve McPherson
Shadow Police
The Bayonettes


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