Apr 04 2008
Let me first say that I make no apologies if this post seems like an indie band love fest. The five acts were all superb – they each justified their position in the top five of the initial 20.
My evening started off with a tour of the venue, Tripod on Harcourt Street, while the band, Chaplin, were in the midst of their sound check. Listening as they performed, it was clear that this would be a good night.
At the bar backstage, two hours before kick-off, I enjoyed pizza and a beer with the lads from Starturtle. If there was an award for nicest band of the night, these guys win hands down. Matt, Jonathan and Daragh are great guys. They each have a passion for the music but have their feet firmly stuck to the ground. That said, Jonathan, a teacher in Ballyfermot, looks more rock and roll than chalk and blackboard. And Daragh is no stranger to the classroom either – being that he is probably studying with his classmates as this post is published.
I spent much of my evening chatting with Phil of Norn Iron Music, the manager of Superfreakz. He’s a guy who loves the music and is behind his band completely. It was refreshing to see someone so fervently promoting something he believed in, without sounding like a pushy fool. I think Phil may have felt the disappointment of not winning, far more than than the band themselves.
The show kicked off at 9 o’clock with a three song set from Chaplin and they did not disappoint. The harmonies captured the small crowd’s attention immediately and their drum beats pumped the adrenalin of each and every one of us. Between acts, there was plenty of time to meet and chat with the bands while PJ Gallagher, the one true disappointment of the night, fell through his MC job on stage. He really seemed to be phoning it in.
Sitting with Chaplin after their performance, the lads were buzzing. For a band who say they rarely play Dublin and actually rarely get out of Wexford, these guys were serious professionals. They had the biggest equipment set up of the night, but the size of your equipment isn’t what matters – it’s what you do with it that counts and these guys delivered.
79Cortinaz were a different band entirely. While I didn’t get chatting with the band for long, their music speaks for itself. Picking up where the indie scene of the early nineties left off, the music is funky and energetic. While I could hear a lot of influences from bands past, 79Cortinaz sound was still very fresh.
Phil and I decided to inject a bit of life into the increasingly stoic crowd by cheering on The Minutes upfront, but we were just left looking like a couple of spares. The band, however, could have been playing to a packed Croke Park for the pace and energy they injected into their performance. While they weren’t my choice to win, they certainly deserved the award. Their sound is very ‘now’ and will sell well. I feel The Minutes will hit it big this year.
Up until I heard Superfreakz perform, I had pegged Chaplin as the winners, but Superfreakz got one of the best reactions of the night (maybe they had a lot of friends in the crowd?), and I really thought they were in with a chance of winning. I’m looking forward to hearing a full set from these lads soon.
The last band up were the lovely guys from Starturtle. As the lead singer said, he tries to go for the mysterious brooding look, but after about 8 seconds it falls away as he enjoys himself too much. And it’s clear they do enjoy themselves on stage. I mean this in a good way – their music was a hark back to eighties rock. I wanted to punch the air and rock out. Great sound and I hope to hear them again in a few weeks time.
While Jim Carroll may have had some good points to make about the organisation of the event and the motives behind it, the organisation on the night was flawless. Every one of the bands were happy with how things were run and all said how positive an experience it was for them. It raised their profile, it gave them some great experience and it was great to play at a large venue and event. Personally, I think Vodafone did a great job on this one. I hope they learn from mistakes and aren’t afraid to run another Bright New Sounds next year.