Conor Scott with support from Joshua Burnside, New Ancestors & Travis is a Tourist
Aether & Echo, Belfast – Tuesday 18th November 2014
Credit to Conor Scott, for he threw one hell of a Tuesday night gig to celebrate the release of his debut EP.
People got there early, of course they did, this was a great line-up. Opening the night with a stripped back set was Travis is a Tourist. Minus the security blanket of a backing band, there was nowhere to hide as the focus shone solely on Travis and his own musical talents. Getting comfortable enough to perform in this situation is no doubt difficult when presenting your own work, but it didn’t take long for him to come into his own. Stripping back his songs like this may take some of their heart away but they weren’t dismantled, they simply morphed into a more personal version, a ‘getting to know Travis’ rendition. The natural smooth-charm voice of Travis Gilbert was laid bare and passed all tests. The set included older songs such as ‘Shaking’, but he also threw in some promising new material to reaffirm that as a tourist, Travis isn’t staying still.
Having recently returned to Belfast following a spell in Glasgow, the maturing New Ancestors took to the stage next, flanked on the night by the familiar Adam Booth on bass and Glen Kennedy on guitar. With this line-up there was a striking balance to the performance that the band has spent some time searching for. The last 18 months have been massive for the band as they’ve successfully established a new name and grown their fan base nationwide. Their set consisted almost exclusively of new songs, and by this it is evident that their folk base is slowly been left in the background and the tempo is coming up. This show gave them an opportunity to work in their new stuff and test their new direction, and it was appreciated by those gathered. They should keep going down this path.
Like Travis is a Tourist, Joshua Burnside brought a somewhat stripped back set as he was only accompanied by his brother Connor on drums. The Burnsides are no secret around Belfast, Connor is one of the best drummers locally and recently impressively filled in with the Emerald Armada, while Joshua, putting it plainly, has the balls to experiment in each of his songs. Having just two on stage didn’t change that. Burnside wants to stand out and he does it successfully because of his genuine knowledge and skill, that is hard to ignore when he gets on stage. The brothers seem to have a telepathic ability, combine this with their talents and not a lot can go wrong. I don’t need to say much, it’s well known that Joshua Burnside doesn’t play bad shows.
Rounding off the night was the man who had his face on the door. Releasing his debut EP, Conor Scott gave an assured and confident account both of himself and his new music. On stage he did well and wasn’t out of place on the night. ‘Rome’ and ‘Cuts’ in particular impressed me with their inventiveness, but this vital ingredient lacked in some songs, ‘Move On’ being a culprit. It isn’t terminal however and it isn’t to say that the set was bad in any way, but given his TV show history, Scott will need to do more than write nice catchy songs in order to stand out and win over any cynics. Heed Matt Corby. In the live finals of Australian Idol at 16, he turned his back on the show and turned down deals in order to pursue his own ideas for his music. He took his time and a couple of years later the piercing yelps and thudding percussion of ‘Brother’ announced that he was ready.
Scott is young and so is his band.
He’s not even in his 20’s yet, in music terms that is very young and he is very much a fledgling prospect. Based on this show he has the talent and the drive to make sure he has many more launch nights. The length of his set shows just how hard he works, but he needs to take his own advice and ‘Move On’ and away from the days of open mic nights. There’s a difference between an open mic musician and a musician/artist, Artists release EP’s and albums. The inclusion of an upbeat pub night cover of ‘Lose Yourself’ and a mash of covers was a mistake. It confused things and took away from his own material, but again, he is young and this was his first genuine step in real music. All in all he did it impressively and can take it from here and grow in confidence to become more experimental in his song construction and with this he will bring a much more unique live show.