Hidden Machine #01 – Master & Dog, The Jepettos and Patrick Gardiner
Thursday 27th February 2014 – Voodoo, Belfast
Voodoo was the venue as Belfast’s newest promotions group Hidden Machine launched themselves with a line-up featuring Patrick Gardiner, The Jepettos and headliners Master and Dog.
The night began with 18 year old Patrick Gardiner stepping onto the stage and introducing himself to the audience with his delightful tune ‘He’s Not Right For You’. Gardiner seems at ease talking to the crowd and shows himself to be a perfect introduction for this launch night. Working his way through a set mostly comprised from his 2012 EP ‘Save Myself’, it is clear Gardiner takes in a wide variety of influences. The jazzy feel of the first track is matched by new song ‘Carcassonne’, played live for the first time only a couple of nights ago. It is sometimes difficult to stand out as a solo performer but Gardiner creates plenty of interest with his guitar playing. ‘Sand Between Our Fingers’ is wondefully rhythmic while the decision to cover Chaka Khan’s ‘Ain’t Nobody’ leads to a very quirky performance.
And quirky is certainly a term that could be applied equally to our next act, The Jepettos. A trio for the night, between them they utilised a range of instruments to capture a folk pop sound that’s equal parts bohemian, innocent and sweet. ‘Should’ve Kissed You More’ is a definite highlight with some nice trumpet playing but eyes were surely on the chemistry between Mike and Ruth who exchanged plenty of glances while delivering their perfectly matched vocals. A few songs feature Ruth on the insta-quirk melodica with ukulele, harmonica and xylophone adding to the diverse sounds. Tracks such as ‘Chemicals’ and ‘Even Though’ go over well; and stage chat including a song dedication to Ruth’s art teacher certainly add to the charm. The Jepettos exude plenty of joy, even in their more thoughtful moments and it would be difficult to come away from the performance not having fallen in love with them, even a little bit. They will certainly have won a few new fans among an incredibly attentive crowd. Despite being sadly undersized for a show of this musical quality, they listened intently to every song and spoken intermission, lending the night a very positive and appreciative vibe.
Headliners for tonight were alternative folk rockers Master and Dog. Seamlessly transitioning from their stage set-up into first track, ‘Weathered’ they caught the audience unawares. Moody and atmospheric, this sets the tone for the next few songs including ‘Small Time’ and ‘Devil Knows How’. Musically, Master and Dog are on top form with vocal duties moving between the front-line three and blending brilliantly when they come together. Their set contains plenty of great gems of atmospheric folk rock, with the band ramping it up on on tracks like ‘Bad Moon’.
Master and Dog began with the intention to let their music do the talking but as they warm up to the audience and bring out the stage banter, the crowd’s appreciation only increases. Jokes about impregnating the entire audience and the Japanese Billboard chart lend the very friendly atmosphere. The band peak on the very last song of the evening, the much loved ‘Canada’. For this they invite Rory Nellis of Seven Summits on-stage to sing with them. It’s a celebratory end to the evening and caps a successful first show for Hidden Machine.