Lavery’s St. Patrick’s Day Gig with the Wonder Villains, NI Soul Troop, Ed Zealous & Desert Hearts
Sunday 17th March 2013 – Lavery’s, Belfast
Indie rockers Desert Hearts lead off the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations that see Lavery’s pool hall transformed into a decent sized music venue. The band have been keeping a bit of a low profile lately having been pre-occupied with the recording of their latest album. Their set features tracks from this latest album with’Power Thrash’ being an atmospheric slow burner. The highlight though is old classic ‘Urchin’ which has lost none of seductive powers. It is perhaps a low key re-introduction to the local music scene, not helped by a small crowd but for those listening it serves to whet the appetite for May when the fruits of their labour will be revealed.
As Ed Zealous take to the stage, there is a bit more of a buzz about the place. Just as well then that the four lads have brought their A game. Their combination of rock based guitar and more danced based electro is nothing new however creating new genres is irrelevant when they sound so good. The rock is definitely not ignored as a broken guitar strap of all things is testament to. New single ‘Medicine’ is a beast in itself. Jangly electro beats combine with fuzzy guitar riffs to provide a perfect vibe for the drunken revellers to dance till their hearts content. Anyone that enjoyed their last release, ‘Diamonds For Eyes,’ really needs to witness it in a live format, Steve McAvoy energetically prowls the stage. As the closer to their set it is a perfect send off and a timely reminder that although the band have been about for years, they are finally hitting that creative peak.
NI Soul Troop have been steadily building a reputation for an entertaining live show with the combination of jazz, rock ‘n’ roll, soul and funk pleasing all audiences. Indeed tonight they receive the best reception, the audience mostly clad in green attire, are in the mood to party. The sheer number of musicians on stage means they are cramped but it is a knock-out performance. The likes of ‘Jekyll & Hyde,’ ‘Somebody Everybody,’ and ‘Boogie’ whilst all featuring various styles, instruments and vocals, come together to provide a funky soundtrack to the day’s celebrations. As the band go to leave the stage there are loud chants for “one more song” and after a few minutes of chat between them and the sound desk the audience get what they want. If they had been allowed I think the audience would have let them play all night.
The Wonder Villains’ stock continues to rise and this time they have the privilege of closing a great night’s local entertainment however they fall just short. In reality not many bands could have followed the scintillating performance of NI Soul Troop and unfortunately for the Villian’s the crowd’s attention has waned. They do everything right and naturally mix in new material with their older stuff but even the usually provocative ‘Zola’ fails to get all but the keenest of fans dancing and singing. Forthcoming single ‘Blonde’ exudes that typical catchy vibe and at just over 2 minutes it is nice to see them recognise that the length of a song doesn’t make or break it. ‘TV’ and ‘Ferrari’ also provide good examples of what the young band are capable of but tonight their predecessors stole the show.
It was nice to see Lavery’s make a return to putting on some great local live music again and despite my initial concerns over NI Soul Troop’s high position on the bill, it was clear that they could and perhaps have topped it. The atmosphere while they were on stage was carnival-esque with plenty of boogieing and even a conga line at one stage. I don’t think I could have spent my St. Patrick’s Day doing anything better!
You can check out more of Dave Burn’s photographs here – Lavery’s St Patrick’s Day 2013 Gig Photos