Modern Life is Rubbish – In An Instant, this is me dead, Andy Bell and Mere Moths
Friday 16th January 2015 – Pavillion, Belfast
Friday night saw another Modern Life is Rubbish show, one that organiser Taylor Johnson was bound to be hugely excited about. The night was headlined by last year’s Kickstart winners, Bangor’s In An Instant.
Kicking the night off was a young singer-songwriter by the name of Patrick Wright, aka Mere Moths. After a few birthday wishes for Taylor and a few others, Mere Moths launched into a smooth but lively rendition of the classic ‘Just The Two of Us’. Like a few of the other songs to come, it served as a showcase for Patrick’s soulful howl of a voice. His set is a mixture of covers and originals, sadly none I can recognise from his two EPs. It’s great to see a venue fill up before the first act is even on but there is a downside. Some of Mere Moths’ originals would be too quiet to suit the crowd, and while the likes of ‘Valerie’ and ‘Sex on Fire’ are less than inspired choices for covers they are delivered well. And more importantly they do well to serve a noisier crowd.
Andy Bell is on next with a few pleas for a capo that are soon heeded. Andy takes a similar approach to Mere Moths, with only a couple of originals in a set which is dominated by covers. The covers range from his opener, The Beatles’ ‘I Saw Her Standing There’ to Johnny Kidd & the Pirates’ ‘Shakin’ All Over’. It’s apparent Andy Bell suits the brit pop leaning style of Modern Life Is Rubbish. After an original that’s clearly Oasis inspired, it’s no surprise to hear the crowd pleasing ‘Cigarettes and Alcohol’.
Our next act takes us in a different direction entirely, this is me dead. The Belfast band are a completely different beast, taking their inspiration from 90s rock and grunge; Dinosaur Jr. springs to mind immediately. Their set is relentless, with the band driving vociferously through track after track. The grungy instrumentation is loud enough to almost drown out frontman David’s vocals.
There’s not a lot of variation in the band’s sound, with them sticking to formula of noisy, 90s style riffing. There’s little interaction from the band and a change in dynamics would be welcome but the band stick to their guns, growing in confidence and with the best moments coming later on in their set.
On a night like this the focal point has got to be the headliners, In An Instant. Electing them our Kickstart winners last year, we’re big fans at Chordblossom so it’s hard to expand on what we’ve already written. The band haven’t gone and overhauled their live sets, there was never a need to. What the Bangor lads have done is hone and develop their already accomplished live performances. Tonight it is near faultless.
These days the band are confident performers, with frontman Mark Hegan coming across as a real natural in front of a crowd. From the opening swell of ‘All Blinds Fall Undone’ the band bring out their usual polished performance. There’s plenty more to come but for those new to the band the opener sets the tone. It’s got everything you need to know from their sound, the polished production in the intro, anthemic guitar and choruses. Although the performance of ‘Boundaries’ on the night is worth a mention too.
Hailing from Bangor, Snow Patrol comparisons are always going to follow the band but they clearly do draw some influence from Lightbody & co. It’s perhaps clearest on ‘Lovers Apart’.
The band bring out a new track, getting its live debut tonight. It’s another continuation of their increasingly popular songwriting playbook, with singalong lyrics of “love wins”.
In An Instant end the night on a track that really isn’t going to escape their setlists any time soon. Their single ‘Something Right and Something Real’ is a gem of a track, whether you’ve heard it a hundred times or just the once, it has a familiarity to it when hearing it live. Certainly those in attendance at Modern Life is Rubbish seem to have heard it a few times, with plenty of singing back to the band and people dancing before the stage. Knowing Taylor, he’s bound to have enjoyed In An Instant headlining one of his shows. Judging by the reception they got, he wasn’t the only one.
Photos by Michele Leigh