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Paper Planes re-launch
Radio City 20/06/08
Finding my previous experience of this band live at 'Crawdaddy' unforgettable, I decided to go see what this re-launch they'd invited me to was about. In despair of ever believing summer will come to Dublin and being only a week back from the high climes of Lanzarote, any kind of diversion was welcome.
I was the first arrival and felt extremely self conscious as members of all three bands on the night's programme gave me shy waves, while preparing themselves for the night ahead. Nevertheless things got under way on time and when the first band began their set, there were a small handful of punters. Most were probably other guests and it was beginning to look a little bit dismal.
Despite this 'Pelican was taken' led by lead singer and guitarist Colin Devaney bravely plodded on. Colin's music is influenced by Damien Rice and Rodrigo y Gabriella amongst others. This comes across and he is passionate as he performs each number. With Julie Hough on fiddle and Stephen Kavanagh on bass guitar, they started the intro to 'The story of ten tall tales'.
This song was fast moving and reminded me of a runaway train. Colin has a strong voice but I found his diction a little fuzzy at times. Whether it was from his microphone technique or just his style, it was my only criticism of his performance. Apart from this, I loved his energy.
Julie is a multi talented musician and played keyboards for their second number, called 'I noticed'. This has a ¾ type beat with a bustling mood going on and a lovely melody. Dramatic and full of spirit, they ploughed on exuding lots of effort and each one an impressive musician. Unfortunately the place was still quite empty!
John Singleton from EBO came over to greet me. He said that there was football on and this could be why the turnout was so small for a Friday. There were a lot of concerts on and between that and the sports it looked like the usual gig goers were otherwise engaged.
Anyhow, Colin and his band went on with a slow number called 'Confused'. This song was vibrant with Julie doing backing vocals. However I wasn't crazy about the meshing of these two voices and found them quite jarring. My thoughts about this act tend to be a bit of a rollercoaster ride from finding them too harsh one minute to loving them the next.
They did a Seal cover 'Kiss from a Rose' next. This was just beautiful! Then they went on to do a song called 'Wondering minds' and finished on a fast moving number called 'Crown of thorns'. This is a nice number but I found Colin's execution of it a little too forceful and strained. However, considering the lack of people around apart from myself and the other half dozen or so guests, I applaud the performance of 'Pelican was taken', all told.
I got a sense of déjà vu when the second band took to the stage. It's no wonder, since I saw them only a few weeks ago being chosen out of a number of brilliant bands, to play at the Trinity Ball. As soon as they launched into the intro of their fist number 'Stop', it all came flooding back. It was Killer Chloe! I knew I recognised one or two of these guys earlier but I was at pains to figure out why. Now I knew. With a loud, distinctive beat they were alive from the get-go and the mood in Radio City immediately changed. Peter McNamara's voice goes from higher to lower octaves as he sings which I find very effective. In this number they have this amazing buzz going on between them with thumping drums, throbbing bass and sweet lead riffs and this little 'ooh' in the middle. Magic!
Pete moves his hips, swaying as he plays his synth. He intoxicates you visually aswell as musically. Feargal Corrigan on lead guitar has a boyish appearance but his playing is outstanding with no holes barred when he lets it rip!
With a post punk style the second number 'Tomorrow' has a choppy intro which is fast and goes from quiet verses to a bashing chorus. The whole thing is performed with a flourish of cheek that is so irresistible. Luke on bass does exceptional riffs. When the lads laid into this song, the small crowd that was building up now moved towards the stage. You can't but smile as you watch this band, whatever it is they have!
As they went on to play 'Coinbox' with a fabulous keyboard riff going on in it building up to an energetic chorus, Pete's breath control and tantalising lyrics were really enjoyable. This number has a wonderful lead solo and the full sound is just mesmerising.
Pete introduced the next song which is new, 'Technobells'.
Synth intro brings you into this mad number that involves a rhythmic rap. The little riffs he plays on keyboards are everything and you just know he's enjoying himself. At the end of this, Pete introduced the new drummer, Greg who was playing his first gig with Killer Chloe.
'High Song' has a different tempo than previous numbers and although I doubt that this band ever does slow, it's more laid back. Greg on drums showed his muscle in this as there's an unexpected change of beat midway through. They had to stop since Fergal's guitar had some kind of technical problem. Something to do with a 'Whammy bar' malfunction whatever that is!
However they resumed from the first chorus only to stop again, this time to just abandon it and go onto the next song. They handled the 'moment' extremely well. Laughing it off they finished their set with 'Sandersons' which is definitely their best as far as I'm concerned. Each of these guys is so talented and it was a treat to see them on the same bill as EBO. Words are just not effective enough to say how great they made the night.
With Dan Forde fronting this band they are entirely a genre apart!
Out on their own, they plant an ember in your brain that ignites as soon as the first chord is struck. Thus, my second EBO gig! Since the original launch in Crawdaddy, it seems the lads were caught up with study and felt that they could better commit themselves to promoting 'Paper Planes' after all this was behind them. So, this gig was the first stop on a nationwide tour to promote the debut album.
John Singleton performs some of the songs; especially one I love called 'Smokescreen'. John also does lead guitar and melodica. Mikey O'Conner plays bass/ Double bass. Cathal (Macker) plays drums/percussion.
This band's influence includes The Beatles, Pearl Jam and Radiohead which definitely comes across in the cocktail of dreamy melody lines and harmonica coming through.
A great sense of excitement descended on Radio City as dry ice created atmosphere and EBO appeared in the haze. Then a choppy drum intro was sounded, followed by delicious lead and bass. All present were now in the palm of their hands as they launched into the lively 'New Machines'.
You feel yourself being sucked into a vacuum of sound and dynamics as they draw you in with lavish melody and powerful sound effects.
Crazy The familiar intro of this song warms my heart as it takes me into the beautiful verse. Harmonies in the chorus are delectable; lyrics speaking of 'Spiderman' and you feel this crawling sensation. Dan's amazing falsetto notes then build into a more forceful and dramatic mood. Crescendo style finish with lots of cymbal by Cathal to frame the scene.
Paper Planes As a lady asked me what I was writing about and I began to tell her, I found myself having to stop the conversation. This song in my opinion is a work of genius. The speed at which it's sung, gives such a holiday feeling to the listener and it's as if you are going on a journey. There is a lush melodic verse, followed by a catchy chorus. Beautiful chords and sweet harmony throughout all go into making this song an absolutely never ending Kaleidoscope of sound and harmonics.
The Eternal Footman With a plucky intro and softly played bass, then a sudden burst of sound, this is one I never heard before. There are amazing discords going on as this song develops. It is slow and mysterious. But it is also addictive and so fluent, each instrument complimenting the other, making it all sound so simple.
The small crowd were being carried away on the wonderful wave of sound and the atmosphere was tangible.
Cathal or Macker managed to characterise each song without being too overbearing as some drummers can be. He has unique talent which shows itself in the very fact that he's audible and hard not to notice, but doesn't drown out everything else.
I decided that I was going up to the front to hear the next song, 'Blackbird' (Beatles cover).
Having been mesmerised by EBO's rendition of it in Crawdaddy, I was getting as close to them as I could this time. Seamless, sweet and something that would bring a tear to the eye of any Beatles lover, they performed an unmatchable rendition of the classic!
The audience were hanging on to their every line as in a barbershop trio style, Dan John and Mikey did this with Dan accompanying with those beautiful chords plucked softly. This was my second viewing of the bands performance of this song and I can only say that I almost feel like an intruder in a special moment, as I watch them share one mike and sing their hearts out!
'Morning Dew'- This is obviously a favourite with other fans because a huge vibe of approval went up when the intro was played. It is a lovely, soft and easy going number.
The lead vocals are performed by John. Dan does harmony and plays bashing chords to rock things up a bit. Then you are taken into a passionate chorus just before the close, which surprisingly involves a speed up of the riff used in the intro. Close harmonies and anthemic-style chords bring you towards a change of pace and a distortion packed lively finish.
View from a bridge This was the seventh song of the set. John picks up a beautiful black acoustic guitar and there's this gorgeous ¾ type beat. Drums are so effective and John soulfully laments as a confident bass riff goes on behind. Things quieten down almost to a whisper then a sweet riff is played by Dan, with Mikey framing all beautifully.Back up to 90 as they come to the end. BIG audience reaction here! WOW!
'Smokescreen' John Singleton just totally gets to me with this softly sung lament which is almost hymn- like in its sweetness. It makes me imagine angels singing with harps or Contemplative Monks at evensong. Pure and just totally oozing musicianship this song involves all kinds of unexpected changes.
It's songs like this that make EBO so incomparable with any other band. Cathal has a lovely personality and you feel the ladies are all drawn to him. However, the next number stars Mikey!
Ideas on a postcard This is another song I've never hear before this gig. Dan's on keyboards, John puts in vocals so it's sung by both he and Mikey. You feel Mikey's shyness coming through, but there's nothing shy about his bass. He has rubber fingers as he plucks away to leave you longing for each next note. There's a crescendo style chorus. This number is like a culmination of all that makes EBO so different.
Twice This song has a pretty melody as Dan performs it. It's slow, dramatic and harmonic. It has a deliciously sweet chorus with wonderful riffs on lead guitar. A lovely solo is performed by Dan, with a little help from John. Lots of emotion is put into the final chorus, the last line being sung unaccompanied.
Powder This was the second last number as John played keyboards singing it. Bass comes in, then is followed by brushes on drums. Dan joins in playing lead guitar. This was sweet and Dan took the second verse. Harmony is sung in a kind of discord. There's a solo played on lead then the whole band comes back to give a BIG sound. Things build up and there's a gradual overload until BAM! Big loud crescendo! This number involves lots of surprises but is very entertaining and a great choice to keep one's interest towards the end of a long gig.
Piano Song This was the last song. Dan sings this and plays keyboards. John and Mikey get jamming away on bass and lead. Things build up and there are twists and turns in this number to keep you on your toes. Much like life's journey, all their songs feature ups and downs, fast giving way to slow and moody but never boring.
John did a mesmerising lead solo that got the whole place totally alive. This song involved a sharp shock finish!
Sometimes you get bands that simply won't do an encore. Ebo aren't one of these bands so they came back to do one more song called 'Adam and Eve'.
This song has a much more rock style than all the preceding ones. It's sung by Dan as he gives his all. It is a kind of Rhapsody with bashing chords in the middle eight and powerful drum input. Lead solo is out of this world. They ended on this big mad distortion packed finish. Ebo gave everybody at Radio City something to think about for sure at this launch gig. I could listen to their music all day and have no doubts that it'll be only a matter of time before another c.d is being launched. Good luck with the tour lads and well done on a flawless and memorable gig!
|Review written by: Angela Macari-O'Looney --|