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Arriving at 'Crawdaddy' on my first ever visit; I was almost the first person through the doors along with my guest. It was a rainy Friday evening and it felt cold as we rattled around in the bar, till nearer nine before noticing a few punters filtering in and the doors opening to the venue for the gig.
'LIKE KINGS' played the first set to the handful of guests and customers. They introduced themselves as Brian and Brian, explaining that the remaining members i.e. a rhythm guitarist and drummer would not be attending. This made me sceptical as to whether they'd be any good.
However to my surprise, these two very young men, held the interest of the audience from start to finish and proved themselves worthy after all.
They performed a low key rendition of 'Desire' by U2, with lovely harmony. I admired they're ability to interact with such a sparse audience, which can be difficult. With so few punters, looking out as you crack jokes playing and singing your heart out can be very discouraging.
Their 3rd song was a sweet ballad. The bassist, Brian Nolan had to double up as rhythm guitar, using an acoustic with a pick up which he did with great aplomb. He used great innovation by playing the bass strings for his solos and created a full sound, showing his skill as a very adaptable musician. They did a cover called 'Business time' which I'm unfamiliar with but enjoyed. This was followed by a Rhianna cover and in my opinion they performed this better than Rhianna herself. Their voices compliment each other so well and by the end of the set the audience which was now building up, had warmed to them.
Obviously big into 'The Beatles' judging by the lead singer, Brian Barry's guitar strap depicting the fab four, their harmonies were exceptionally close. Even without the other members, this pair held my interest throughout their performance and would merit a closer listen.
The 2nd set was performed by a motley crew consisting of a singer with guitar, bass, keyboards, drums and two female backing vocalists. This interesting bunch called themselves 'Glenn and the floorshow'.
They started with a parody-style number. It had fun lyrics but I was disappointed to notice that the two girl's mike wasn't up loud enough and they couldn't be heard. They definitely made nice 'eye candy' but it frustrated me that you couldn't tell if they could sing or not!
All of the band were competent musicians but their alternative rock/jazz style didn't do anything for me I'm afraid. They did an interesting reggae number towards the end of their set which I liked, then a ragtime type song with a real swinging feel to it. The girl's mike eventually got turned up and to my great disappointment they just sang in unison. Where's the harmony, girls?!
Like the first guys they did get the crowd warmed up and by the final song, there was a great atmosphere prevailing. The lead singer introduced all members of the band just before the last chorus of their final song, which had lots of changes of tempo and by now I was actually warming to them myself! Not the worst I've ever seen, but not my favourites either. Perhaps it just wasn't coming together for them on the night or something.
'A diamond in the rough!' This was my first impression of 'EBO' listening to them on-line and to the demo they sent me. They have an almost reverential devotion to the music they perform and can all sing, play and create an unforgettable sound with a sense of togetherness created by close harmony, sweet solo's and a refreshingly gutsy feel to each number, tinged with 'Beatles', 'Pearl Jam' and 'Radiohead' sympathies.
Having said that, they have certain magic all their own with the clear, passionate and mournful voice of 'Dan Forde'; also the amazing vocal range of 'John Singleton' and of course the utterly sensational harmonies always present in each number throughout their set!
They started off with 'Paper Planes' to shouts of approval which went up from the audience. Fast moving, with lots of distortion used on lead guitar, this wonderfully sweet number has a catchy melody, excellent lyrics and has gorgeously placed changes of tempo and close harmony. I moved closer to the stage with my guest and glancing behind us, we discovered that the place had filled to the brim with people in a remarkably short space of time. This debut launch-gig was looking like it was going to be a huge success and it was heartening to see that the lads were getting such great support, which they definitely deserved.
Crazy, number two had a guitar intro and begins with a heartfelt lament. Lots of cymbals and dramatic drum rolls create a powerful effect and along with plucking-style guitar riffs and wonderfully melancholic lyrics has a much bigger impact live than on c.d. Dan's ability to go into falsetto here was also noticeable and I can hear a tiny similarity in his phrasing, to Chris Martin of 'Cold Play'.
The atmosphere was electric at this point, with lots of screeches of joy coming from a couple of overexcited ladies, who almost drowned out the band. Things were indeed hotting up!
View from a Bridge has a choppy upbeat style. It's sung by John Singleton with lots of dramatic stops and starts and includes a really memorable lead solo.
Then there was a number called Smokescreen, which involves all members of the band singing really close harmony. The lads are so perfectly synchronised here, with a thumping beat and changes of pace to add interest! One minute it's a screaming Rock anthem, the next it's like a delicate Ballad! It has a very 'Radiohead' feel to it.
John's song was next, a song I hadn't heard. This included a wonderful performance on piano by Dan Forde. Mikey O'Conner did some seriously notable bass riffs and the riveting blend of vocal talent and musicianship among this unique quartet was at its best here!
Twice is quite a slow number, but is extremely powerful with lots of lead guitar and a very original and sweet melody. Both guitarists played in synch at one stage of this song which gave it a distinct sound. Once again Mikey on bass performed some really special solo bits. These guys just ooze talent!
Powder, number seven of the set involves harmony that is simply OUT OF THIS WORLD! The bass takes a solo and plenty of lead guitar riffs vie for attention. Cathal does some dramatic drum rolls, to bring this song up to Rock anthem level and as things build up, the two guitars let rip doing some snazzy lead using that synchronised, harmonic style. It is so beautiful you can't tear your gaze away in case you miss something! There seemed to be quite a bit of swooning from the ladies, when Cathal took a drum solo. He is extremely handsome, but also an extremely competent musician as are all the lads in this very special band!
Dust on my shoulders was a completely new development of style with a heavier feel to it. This number got the crowd going and it was almost like listening to a completely different band. Lead guitar was amazing here. I thought I could hear a line from a Christmas hymn in there somewhere (weird)! Mind you this whole gig was like being on some rollercoaster ride of musical styles and whatever was happening, it was working. It seemed like no one wanted this wonderful night to end and EBO using all that outstanding harmony and addictive atmosphere had the audience in the palm of their hands!
Although it was great to see the positive reaction they were getting, I wished I could turn down the audience and turn up the band when they launched into their next number, the Beatles cover BLACKBIRD.
It was so perfect that I felt a lump in my throat as I listened to the familiar and beautiful melody, with that close harmony that I just can't get enough of when it's done well! Dan plucked on his guitar, playing those magical chords as all members of the band stood at the front of the stage, side by side. Lads, you did this timeless piece of musical genius justice!
With a big crescendo which actually reminded me a little of 'Keane' meets 'Cold play', the tenth song Morning Dew begun. It has a somnolent beat, very catchy lead guitar and is sung as a soulful lament. The melody is sweet and memorable as are all the songs of this band's repertoire. I had heard it on the c.d. but definitely found it nicer live.
Dan's piano song was next. It is of course sung by Dan accompanying himself on piano. With catchy chord combinations, IN YOUR FACE bass riffs and vibrant lead solos you feel like you're being swept away by a massive explosion of sound and vibration.
Number twelve, the last song of the evening was a barber shop style number. Three of the band stepped up to the front of the stage and sung acapello, with a sense of mirth performing this funny little ditty which I don't have the name of, but loved as did all the audience. What a great hat trick for a finale!
They left the stage, but were never getting away that easily!
On returning they got a humungous round of applause and screams of delight from the ladies it was just amazing to be there to witness. They're such a lovely bunch of guys that its brilliant watching them work so well together and command such reverence from all age groups and both genders.
They finished off with a very heavy rock number called Adam and Eve. Dan sang a lot of falsetto here, with the rest of the guys singing harmony, which filtered through here and there in splashes. With changes in tempo, it gradually built up and came alive. John and Dan both did lead vocals and then it eventually climbed back down to a kind of slow dramatic beat, to finally end on a big sustained note. Such a wonderful end to a wonderful evening! Well done and congratulations EBO!
|Review written by: Angela Macari-O'Looney --|