Joshua Burnside with support from Affleck & Carriages
Thursday 27th March 2014 – Whites Tavern, Belfast
Joshua Burnside has earned himself a reputation as a great, unique artist on the local scene. Thursday night in the cosy upstairs of Whites Tavern saw the launch of his single ‘Desert Wine’. This was a chance to see if the craft of his EPs could be matched live, with the support of two other interesting prospects.
First up were Dublin duo Carriages sporting a rather unique and intriguing sound, certainly not heard much like it in Northern Ireland. The two piece of Aaron and Harry came armed with a couple of keyboards, an acoustic, a tenor ukulele and a few other toys. Their sound is perhaps best described as electronic with folk element incorporated. Layered beats and rhythms with some acoustic sounds in the mix and mostly sparse vocals. This was the band’s first gig in Northern Ireland, or as they put it, playing with a different currency. The band would be rushing back to Dublin at the end of the night for work in the morning, beating the postcard they sent home. Carriages set up a very chilled and relaxed vibe, perfect way to kick off the gig.
The second band of the night were much less laid back. Affleck provided a much more lively touch. A four-piece on the night, the band aimed for a lot more immediacy with their set. Affleck kicked off with a couple of new tracks, as well as playing a couple of tracks from last year’s self titled EP. ‘Cat King Lightning’ was energetic while ‘Anor Londo’ was a more brooding affair. This is a band with some interesting sounds to show off. Their EP is a hugely polished and slick affair but sadly live it’s a different story. They couldn’t capture this polish on the night, though their confidence and performance grew from their initial shakiness with the new tracks. Affleck aren’t the finished article yet but if they can reproduce the feel of their EP live, then they’ll be an exciting prospect.
Last on the night was Joshua Burnside himself. He took to the stage with the backing of his band including some trumpet and violin. Joshua’s EPs are so well crafted with a range of instrumentation that it was going to be interesting to see if that feel could be brought out live. But soon it was obvious that there was no need to doubt. In a set filled with tracks from his EPs ‘The Winding Straits’ and ‘If You’re Going That Way’, Joshua’s confidence and enthusiasm shone through. With his talented band behind him he was completely at ease playing to the crowd.
From the moment they started into ‘Little Blind’ the songs flowed out and it would be hard to pick a highlight. Was it the wonderful performance of the single itself ‘Desert Wine’? Or perhaps the unusual and vigorous ‘Black Dog Sin’? The particularly great performance of ‘The Winding Straits’ was another treat. Many of the tracks really benefited with the extra instrumentation, with violin and trumpet filling out the sound and adding some nice touches. This was folk as it should be performed, with vigour, enthusiasm with Joshua confident in his own voice and brand of experimental folk.
Thursday night was a great mix of music with experimental leanings, and a night which saw Joshua Burnside showcase his genuine talent for not just crafting songs but delivering them live. Whether you’re familiar with his music or not, you shouldn’t miss a chance to head to one his shows.