Modern Life is Rubbish #01 – The Late Twos, Frank & Beans and His New Atlas
Wednesday 21st May 2014 – Pavillion Bar, Belfast
Gracing the stage of the Pavillion’s Boutique bar, in what promises to be a night of intrigue are three very individual acts; His New Atlas, Frank & Beans and The Late Twos.
First on the line up for new Belfast gig night Modern Life is Rubbish is 18-year-old Eoghan O’Hagan aka His New Atlas from Co. Armagh and what a fantastic opening act. Soulful, emotional, and confident on stage this young musician has got what it takes to move into the big leagues. Having already toured around the Uk solo, playing over two hundred gigs since he started out only fifteen months ago it’s obvious he’s putting his heart and soul into this, and how refreshing is it to be in a room with someone who not only knows what they want but dam well goes after it. Tonight he’s accompanied by a full band, this being remarkably only the fourth gig they’ve played together. With Luc Mcparland on keyboard, and Matthew McCilly on drums this 3-piece pulls off a polished performance which receives a warm applause from the seated audience.
Eoghan’s voice is mesmerizing, it’s clear and pitch perfect, his hollow-body guitar being the perfect companion to this ethereal performance. His first song of the night, ‘Lost’, taken from his debut EP Lost and Found, is soft and mellow but with powerful lyrics all at once bringing a tear to the eye and a warm fuzzy feeling to the belly. His voice surrounds you, takes you on a floating journey. When Bill Callahan said “music can be a place where people are all swimming together” he wasn’t wrong. He played the fantastic ‘Blood’ from his second EP, and finished the short, six song set with a track from his latest EP Torn Out Lungs due for release this summer. He notes Jeff Buckley, Fleet for Foxes and Daughter as his influences but it’s clear he has the passion and talent to move into his own sphere. The only concern being an already oversaturated acoustic rock market. Whilst enjoying a drink after his performance he speaks of enjoying funk and wanting to try new things. Could the funk realm be his worldly oyster?
The second act on the line up were Armagh based Frank &Beans. Although normally a 3-piece, alongside girl bassist Kim, tonight Milo & Timmy went solo and played a cracking set. The boys, both aged eighteen, have been playing together since they were only eleven. Each song was unique and though not yet out of their teens, they played dirty and sexy like it was spun from their fingertips, taking me back to Lafaros heyday.
With Timmy on drums and no bass present Milo had a massive task on his hands and although the concentration was sketched on his face he proved that he could front the band and create a magic on stage almost all by himself. Songs ‘Hey Asshole’ brought cheers from the crowd, while ‘Challamongo’ had a distinctive Pixies’ vibe, and ‘Monkey Nos’e gave us the chance to clearly hear Milo’s unique voice as he blended perfectly with the drums. There was a lot of sound coming from the small band and it was obvious that the boys were well prepared for this gig and are committed to making great new music. Unfortunately for us, they are off to university in September so a break may be forthcoming. Here’s hoping that with more time for development we’ll see them back on our scene someday soon. With no content online you’ll just have to check out this thunder art-punk band at a live venue near you.
Maybe it was an off night for them, maybe it was the two lad-floozies who pranced around beneath the stage bum-banging each other, playing air guitar and taking multiple selfies (as if they were die-hard groupies at the biggest rock gig of their lives) but this performance was clearly not The Late Two’s best and here’s a couple of reasons why…
Firstly, know your audience and adjust your set accordingly: The Who -‘ My Generation’ (1965), Stiff Little Fingers’ ‘Alternative Ulster’ (1978), and Undertones ‘Teenage kicks’ (1979) are admittedly great songs, but great songs don’t always make for great covers. In addition the covers sounded like they were lacking any real emotion or conviction. These covers should be left for inebriated festival crowds not relatively sober seated gigs. Did the band expect us all to up out of our seats and rush to join the two floozies at centre stage? When we didn’t respond by participating along to the first cover, let it slide.
Secondly, let the music speak: the finished product is good, and although the lyrics can be adolescent at times the band are obviously talented. When singer/ guitarist David McMaster came in on ‘Sierra Leone’ the whole group dynamic shifted and one could realise that behind all of singer Matty Legge’s constant t-shirt grabbing, bum wiggling and general flailing about, (which was just distracting) true musicians stood before us. Notably Ross Bickerstaff on drums is clearly an accomplished musician.
The songs ‘Modette to Layette’ and ‘Nevermind’ stood out from the rest as the front runners of the set. ‘Nevermind’, played last, was great, making you want to sit up and listen, it’s just unfortunate the rest of the set didn’t have the same spark.
Hats off to Taylor for organising the show, why he choose to put three totally different acts together only he can answer but at least he choose talent, which is all one can really ask for.