Silences with support from Mere Moths & Rory Dee
Thursday 13th February 2014 – The Menagerie, Belfast
Silences are riding high on the back of growing popularity thanks to their recent performance at Other Voices as well as some Radio 1 airplay. Thursday evening saw them in Belfast as part of their current tour in support of their upcoming EP, released next month. The band were supported in the intimate and low-key setting of The Menagerie by Mere Moths and Rory Dee.
The evening kicked off with Patrick Wright, aka Mere Moths playing a short set with a couple of covers and a few songs from his new EP ‘You Grew Up’, released last month to very positive reviews. There were a few nerves and plenty of self-depreciation, though really there need not have been. Wright questioned himself while covering Master & Dog’s ‘Canada’ but his nerves were misplaced and it was well received. Among the originals was ‘Fight Me’ from the EP which was delivered with a slightly menacing tone.
Nerves were not surprising given Wright’s young age of 17 and a crowd in the venue that started off small when he took to the stage. Noise from the crowd also slightly marred the highlight of the set, the wonderful and sedate ‘You Grew Up’. It’s a quiet, nuanced song with a lovely melody, Mere Moths’ best.
The unfortunately chatty crowd continued into the next act, a man usually known as the frontman of the heavy riffing Chocolate Love Factory. Tonight however Rory adopted the moniker of Rory ‘mellow’ Dee – worth a listen for that name alone. This collection of songs showcased Rory’s versatile vocals. His opening number, ‘Amygdala’ grew from quiet Thom Yorke-esque falsetto into an angry howl by the end. ‘The Nile Song’ of the night was even more delicate, drawing inspiration from Radiohead, in this reviewer’s mind at least. Which was handy as from this song Rory dived into a pleasing cover of Radiohead’s ‘Weird Fishes/Apreggi’. Rory was perhaps even more self-depreciating than Mere Moths, admitting he doesn’t normally do these solo shows. Both Rory and Mere Moths suffered from the usual difficulty for a solo act to grasp the crowd’s attention.
Lastly however it was time for Silences. The band looked assured as they took the stage with a crowd eager to take in what they had to offer. They opened with the delightful ‘Cops & Robbers’ which had Conchúr White playing unaccompanied, with his acoustic guitar. For the first time in the night the crowd was silent, listening intently to Conchúr’s magnetic voice. From here each song was as soothing and lovely as the last, with the band playing through songs such as ‘All These Crimes’, ‘Emma’ and new single ‘Santa Cruz’ from next month’s EP.
While the set had a very cohesive sound, each song brought with it its own personality. The little whistles in the backing vocals of ‘Closer’ added some quirkiness while guitarist Christopher Harbinson handled duet duties on ‘Emily’s Corridors’. The original version featured Conchúr duetting with a female singer; this version might not have matched the grace of that one but it hardly disappointed.
The genesis of the band may have been Conchúr’s voice and songs but the music is really aided by the whole five-piece. There’s a brief but powerful full-band interlude before the band starts into ‘There’s a Wolf’ and some of the night’s most moving moments came from the band all falling in and strengthening the depth of feeling of the songs. Guitarist Christopher and bassist Brendan added wonderful backing vocals and harmonies to many of the songs; it’s all so cohesive and well performed that it’s hard to believe at times the band has only been together for around six months.
Silences will now be playing some shows across the water where hopefully their following will continue to grow. Their upcoming EP should make quite a splash when it’s released next month and after witnessing tonight one would love to see the band to rise to loftier heights. This was a wonderful collection of heartfelt songs performed with real sincerity by Conchúr and the rest of the band.