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THE KINETICS / Blonde Majority - 'Bite the Bullet' launch gig Whelan's 29/02/08

On a cold rainy February night, I was hesitant about going anywhere only home after working till eight. However, on hearing about 'The Kinetics' gig in Whelan's, I couldn't stay away!

I wrote a short review last year about a previous single launch and was familiar with their stuff as a result, so I just knew I would enjoy this event. And enjoy myself I did!

Because I didn't leave my job in Donnybrook till eightish, I missed the first band, 'Warm Wax'. What a pity! However I had a listen to them on-line and vow to make a conscious effort to go see them soon. A girl I met up with told me they reminded her of 'Rage against the machine'. I hear a bit of a similarity when I compare both bands on-line. But I think they seem like such an exciting bunch of lads that they warrant my going to see for myself a.s.a.p.

'The Blonde Majority' were already on when I arrived and into they're set. 'The Chalets' were suggested to me as a comparison, but for me the oldest swinger on IU, 'Bangles' whose songs I performed myself yonks ago immediately popped into MY head! 'Veruca Salt' was another band that came to mind for me with that IN YOUR FACE style. However this band inspire excitement and admiration from all who experience them, including myself.

Generally they came across as laid back and confident, very sexy, with a crisp, tuneful sound. With Karla on bass singing gorgeous harmonies and adding lovely riffs she can't be ignored. There were plenty of crunching chords and rock riffs from lead guitar too, which was played by the lead singer 'Aoife' with her charming and unforgettably magical voice!

'We've got Fire', a ballsy number with lots of HEVVY riffs throughout and sweet harmony started the whole set which was absolutely irresistible. 'She's looking down', 'Old Feeling' which I personally favoured and 'Yes Sir' followed. This band has such an original and novel sound and are so addictive, I'll just have to go and do a review of them in the near future.

They finished with 'Banging' which seemed to include quite a bit of banging on the drums! A little too much perhaps? However, Lucy's young vibrant NRG and lovely backing vocals were at all times 'bang' on. Towards the end of this up-beat number there was a lovely contrast of a galloping beat and angelic vocals with a catchy chorus and a great build up to a thumping lively finish. What a great way to get the crowd warmed up!

After that wonderful build up, the place was electric. You couldn't move with all the bodies, let alone go up for a drink. But the atmosphere was just amazing as a sense of suspense seemed to hang over the proceedings while the stage was set for the STARS of the night! Then the lights went down and suddenly as if appearing from thin air, Gaz and his troupe took their places onstage to shouts of euphoria!

Decision opened the show, oozing with choppy rhythm and lots of cheeky lead riffs through the verse. The chorus of this song is very melodic with a lot of stops and starts. It's a short sweet number and excellently catchy!

Light Bulb continued the set and with one of the sweetest lead solos I've heard and a delicious melody line, nice harmony and extremely noticeable bass input, it went down well with the audience.

Gaz Harding's charisma and sexy arrogance had the girls in the palm of his hand. With a perfect voice for indie/pop style songs, he can command your interest to distraction. He doesn't smile! But somehow it's that kind of arrogant, 'fuck you' attitude that somehow enthrals. You can't take your eyes off him and he knows it! That's showmanship!

Shuffle Your Feet was third and with a gorgeous melody, lovely lead intro and just indescribably riveting chords and key changes to constantly develop this number, it IS most definitely a classic and HAS to become the most popular of all of the Kinetics set!
The bass player got to sing a little refrain in the chorus and there is such an 80's feel to this song for me. That echo style of backing vocals gives it richness and polish. Outstanding! I just adore the key change going into the chorus and sense of movement in the whole number, loaded with punchy choppy beats and so many amazing riffs and hooks throughout, it's magic!

I noted the groups 'Arctic Monkeys' and 'The Kinks' among the influences mentioned in their profile on IU. Yes, very much so and I'd add that they put me very much in mind of 'The View' with those mad and unforgettable screaming lead solos and an unwavering ability to write witty lyrics setting them apart, plus lending musical genius to everything they do!

Senorita is a number with a very ethnic feel to it, using distortion in the intro, with a fast moving thumping beat to it! It has lots of staccato style stops and starts and really had the crowd hopping!
I found myself wanting to pogo about as I listened and a bunch of mad girls just wouldn't let me sit down. Much like all present, I got sucked into the sensational atmosphere that prevailed in Whelan's. There was a very interesting change where this number slowed down towards the end, which was just that little bit different.

Next was a really beautiful number called 'We used to play' which Gaz introduced. I noticed his charisma and an ability to keep his audience up to scratch on what was going on, as the set progressed. He mentioned something about the song 'Stand by me' having an influence on the way this number was written. It reflects how friends growing up together can drift apart. At least I think that was the general drift! However, I could sense a lot of meaning and sobriety in the way he put this song across. I like the melody, finding the little 'Do dos' in the chorus particularly appealing! Gaz played rhythm guitar here showing him to be a very good musician along with his outstanding vocal ability!

Run Run Run This number has fabulous harmony, sweet little lead riffs, with lots of distortion to rev it up. The Drummer 'Jon' gets to shine here and keeps this band together throughout the whole gig. This perfectly put together number is upbeat, lively and fun. I'm torn between 'Shuffle your feet' and this one if I was asked to pick a favourite,. With a combination of every ingredient necessary to keep you coming back for more, this number has constant unexpected little touches.

Gaz took off his jacket at this point of the night. He remarked that even if it does look the biz, it's too f***ng warm. He got a laugh here and I have to say, that the style of dress that these guys wear IS cool. They have a certain 'Je ne sais quoi' about their appearance that exudes novelty and like their music, is SHARP and PRECISE! Kick ass and cocky seems to be the aura around 'The Kinetics'. Pointed winkle picker shoes, drainpipe trousers and carefully groomed hair are that extra thing that gives them an edge!

History This number has an amazing lead intro and is the kind of number that makes me think of flying along on a fast motorbike, where you get that crazy thrill of danger, making you want it to last and last. The drummer was definitely giving it loads here and the beat was just brilliant. Then it slowed down in the middle. There's a sweet verse, then you're back into the chorus to take you to the ending which is one BIG last chord!

Something to say to me In this very 'Strokes –esque' number, there's lots of distortion used on lead guitar. It's up-beat and despite the fact that I was attempting to jot down notes, I just kept getting jogged about by the mad bunch around me who leapt about, high on the 'Kinetics' drug!

Bite the Bullet UN- B- LIEVABLE is all I can say to describe this number. The lads themselves seemed very satisfied with it as they played. With lots of screaming riffs in a staccato beat and Gaz playing fab rhythm, showing his guitar playing muscle once more!
It just blew me away. There are great thumping chords, a catchy melody and the most mind blowing lead solo thrown in to boot! The nifty middle eight building up to the sweet chorus of 'Eyes on the prize, hands on the wheel' just can't be forgotten and the lyrics are witty. THE best song of the night without a doubt!

As the lads left the stage, there were shouts for an encore and they obliged. However something upset me just before they left the stage. In that dramatic moment when they walked off before the encore, Gaz dropped his Fender Strat onto the floor face-down. Although I know it's a thing you often see, I find it annoying! And I mentioned this to him, just before I left 'cause it stuck in my gullet a bit.
Most musicians treasure their instruments and would consider this a desecration. However brilliant you are, my opinion is you should maintain just a touch of respect for an instrument as beautiful as that black Strat!

Last but not least, the encore! A smile'd crack your face began with choppy 'OH OH OH'! Vocals. The verse is simple but catchy, with lots of clear, vibrant input of bass by 'Jim McGuire'. There's a lovely middle eight which adds interest, the backing vocals really lovely too. Before the second chorus there's a screaming lead solo by Sean. Gaz lets rip! Unexpectedly a guy on sax took to the stage, which brought the whole mood up another notch. There was definitely NO HOLES BARRED at this unforgettable and most enjoyable gig. Well done lads. Cheers!

Angela Macari-O'Looney

Review written by: Angela Macari-O'Looney --

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