Sunday night gigs are a notoriously difficult affair, with the Saturday night hangover still looming and thoughts of Monday morning rearing their ugly head. Now Wave however took the challenge of the Sunday night lull head on to deliver a diverse, colourful and exciting line up to see us into the working week with vigour.
Locals The Tapestry were up first and delivered a fiercely polished and punchy set. It’s not often you see a support band with such high impact that they could easily be headlining a gig. Frontman Liam had a hint of Ian Curtis about him and worked the stage and crowd with ease and quirk aplenty. A quintessentially Northern band, but not trying to emulate the many renowned Northern bands that have gone before them. Definitely ones to keep an eye on.
As part of the co-headline tour, Theme Park were up first. They’re strikingly youthful in both appearance and sound, and instantly transport us all to warmer climates with their calypso infused tunes. A uniform of dazzling white t-shirts and rolled up sleeves further enhance our thoughts of summer.
Their breezy, melancholic tracks including 'A Mountain We love', 'Milk' and 'Two Hours' are delivered with hints of early Vampire Weekend along with intelligent, highly metaphoric lyrics not unlike those of Bombay Bicycle Club.
The lead singer’s deep, husky, soulful voice gave a depth to the summery melodies and made it nay on impossible to not move your feet. Definite hints of reggae came through, with Jamaican influences very noticeable - a refreshingly un-standard practice for a young guitar band.
Theme Park seem very current, very now. Whether that’s just because spring is here and we’re all looking forward to the prospect of summertime, I’m not sure. They’ve enjoyed a lot of hype off the back of their Bombay Bicycle Club support slots and it will be interesting to see whether they can uphold the interest once the buzz has inevitably fizzled out.
Dubliners The Cast of Cheers topped the bill, and despite a dwindling crowd pretty much belted Sunday night into oblivion. These boys were noisy. With their own brand of robot rock they were the perfect juxtaposition to the shimmering ethereal vibes of Theme Park.
Frontman Conor's vocals are impressively exigent, fast paced and somewhat frentic throughout, reminiscent of Maximo Park's Paul Smith and Barry Hyde of The Futureheads but much more ferocious. Set opener ‘Trucks at Night’ showcased their anthemic sound, infused with catchy hooks, masterful drumming and an abundance of energy.
They’re a big old melting pot: bit rock, bit dancey, bit indie. They’ve seemingly also mastered the art of merging intricate guitar with infectious memorable melodies, which draws the obvious comparison to early day Foals. Current single ‘Family’ and ‘Human Elevator’, both championed by the likes of Zane Lowe and Huw Stephens, serve as perfect examples of this .
Earnest shape throwing from the crowd was matched with highly spirited on stage hip action, none so more than during the raucous ‘I am Lion’. The room might not have been rammed to the rafters, The Trendies having seen the much hyped Theme Park and then skedaddling, but they nevertheless put in an impassioned performance and declared the gig ‘f*cking deadly’.
There might be some mystery about the real reason behind how they came up with their name but there’s definitely no contention that they have a bright future ahead of them. Yes they’re loud, yes they’re rowdy and yes they’re probably not everyone’s cup of tea, but above all they’re fun. With a highly suited support slot on Blood Red Shoes’ forthcoming UK tour and festival slots on the horizon, I have a feeling we’re going to be hearing a lot more from these Irish charmers.
- Date: Sunday 4th March 2012
- Event: Now Wave Presents: Theme park & The Cast of Cheers at The Deaf Institute
- Venue: The Deaf Institute
- Artists: Theme Park, The Cast Of Cheers
Words: Michelle Lloyd
Tickets are no longer available for this event
Originally published: 8th Mar 2012