All Tvvins with support from Spies
McHugh’s Basement Bar – Friday 14th November 2014
With his big booming (Ian Curtis-esque) baritone voice, Spies front man Michael Broderick gave us no choice but to shut up and take notice, for what unfolded was a beautifully crafted performance, a tight fully focused set which in my opinion surpassed the headliners not only in enjoyment but in overall sound quality.
Dublin based five piece rock band Spies have been supporting All Tvvins through their short Ireland tour encompassing Dublin, Belfast and Galway. Tonight they played to a moderately packed McHugh’s basement and this loud band played a strong seven song set which consisted of their singles to date including ‘November Sun ‘from the Distant Shorelines EP, released in 2013 and their newest EP release ‘Moosehead’, featuring ‘Yearner’ as the B-side which was released last summer.
‘Uriah’, my favourite track of the night which is yet to be released, was played fourth. With an opening like a quickening heart beat, building intensity and pressure, a clash between drum and guitar and this phenomenal voice wailing, and bellowing, it was powerful and captivating, the lyrics deep reaching and the voice lasting after the music ended. During the final song of the set the drummer used a tambourine in place of a stick on the ride cymbal, the result was unique, which I guess is a word that sums up this band perfectly.
The headline of the night came from synth-pop band All Tvvins, formally known as just Tvvins who are made up by all-Ireland industry long-standers Conor Adams (The Cast of Cheers) and Lar Kaye (Adebisi Shank). They were joined on stage tonight, as with all of their lives shows but not studio recordings by drummer Lewis Hedigan.
Opening with a bang (sounding a little like Bloc Party, a little like the Arctic Monkeys) they pulled out all the stops. With this first song All Tvvins showed a now packed McHugh’s Basement that they’re experienced on the scene, a little bit cocky but definitely not ashamed of it.
But although they opened with a cracker, it wasn’t until their fourth song ‘Know Go’ that they really relaxed into it and sounded like a more connected band. Know Go starts synth heavy with a firm string scratch on guitar, but quickly picks up pace with faster tight drums and clearer vocals than previous songs.
All Tvvins has seen Lar (Synth and Rhythm Guitar) and Conor (Vocals and Bass) progress onward from their previous bands and having formed just over a year ago in summer 2013, it is obvious that the although they are both talented musicians they are still honing that All Tvvins sound.
The result of their formation is an upbeat synth-electric rock sound that uses heavy distortion, reverb, layers of tracks and effects and robotic sound effects on the vocals, and whilst the majority of their work is superb, there was a slight tendency to lose focus through some songs amidst the medley of excessive sound effects.
With ‘Two Worlds’ All Tvvins looped the reverbed base vocals (Wow-Oh- Oh-Oh-O-O) to give a more dynamic feel to the sound. Though this masked the main vocals somewhat, the song built intensity and layers as it progressed moving up and down tempo and incorporating a wide variety of synth effects and high pitched notes to give a somewhat mystical other-worldly feel.
Along with the vocal levels the drum level seemed to be skewed as well, with the snare drum hits felt as well as heard. The venue was largely at blame however for this; the tight space and pillars blocking and distorting the sound. In conclusion both bands will just have to come back to visit and play bigger venues next time.