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Star Belgrade Trades Club, Sligo 05/02/2006

I wasn't expecting a great deal from this gig - the Trades Club is a dump of a venue & the last time I was there, the PA barely drowned the noise of the 20 strong "crowd". But I was intrigued... the town had been bombarded with posters for the week preceeding the gig, boasting the arrival of "Star Belgrade... the perfect blend of pop & rock... the noise of My Bloody Valentine mixed with the pop sensiblities of The Cure".

As an ex-curehead & shoegazer, I had to see this!

The band took the stage an hour late, by which time the room was almost full (I counted at least 80 heads). The house lights went down and a blasting wall of feedback spread out across the room. As an electronic dance beat kicked in, the noise began to blend into a wall of sound with heavily distorted keyboards weaving between Robert Smith style guitars & thumping bass. The vocals remained soft & sexy... the music electric.

The second song was introduced - appropriately titled the "The 2nd Song". A chunky bassline intro... followed by one of the best sounding chords I've heard in a long time. The lyrics name checked so many Sonic Youth songs, that I lost count & seemed to be a homage to their bassist Kim Gordon... "my Little Troubled Girl, On Cinderella's Score, you really turned me on - it was the 2nd Song".

A short punky number followed - a four chord riff dominating the song with the singer & drummer singing alternating lines of verse & chorus. A simple tune that really got the crowd going.

A technical hitch left the band with no power for over 15 minutes, but they blasted back into it with another wall of sound called "All this noise", following up with a bass & drum lead song incorporating some lovely Doors-esque keyboards.

The set ended with "Red Arc"... another dance beat, with Edge-inspired guitars & the singer's best vocal perfomance of the night.

A short, but inspired set from a band that really deserve a second look... they play as part of the Emergenza Festival in March & though I'm not sure how far they will go in a mostly grunge / rock competition, but they will no certainly make their mark.

Review written by: Simon Gaugher -- simongaugher@hotmail.com

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