Words: Kimberley Forsyth
DP Events, with the support of our Belfast Music Queen, ‘The Real’ Paula C put on an incredible night of music for us at McHughs this rainy November evening with sets from Brother Vice, The Baines and Red Eye Pariah who all brought something different to the table.
It got hot in that basement bar, it got noisy but it was also filled with pockets of delicate vocals and smiles across the faces of the crowd all enjoying a night out with music in our ears and Red Eye Pariah tees flying off the shelves with the support of Merchandise beauty Laura Horton.
First up was Brother Vice, a four piece indie rock band from County Armagh, Ireland led by the powerful vocals of James Feely with Aidan Watters crashing the drums to kick off their first tune, ‘Ultraviolet’
An assuring smile to each other as they had everyone instantly toe tapping, their fresh sound came over confidently. Their music straight away was infectious. I was not that familiar with them but found myself singing along to the choruses of a few of the tracks they played and they bashed them out with barely a breath and were clearly enjoying their time to shine.
They threw in two covers: ‘Lonely Boy’ which got the crowd going and also ‘Seventeen Going Under’ by Sam Fender which suited their style and was sung beautifully by James.
Their lead guitarist Neil Mone showcased some amount of talent and could tell by the perfect synchronisation with Shane McEntegart on bass that they were a band who knew what they were here for and they performed really well.
As they worked through their tracks their confidence grew and my favourite of the night was ‘Thread’s with some heartfelt lyrics and a stunning breakdown from Aidan on the drums; "you deserve more than hanging onto these threads.
Their summer single ‘Cure’ had a lot of the Red Eye Pariah fans jumping around. Neil had his guitar smoking about as hot as the room was by that point.. They ended on their most recent single ‘23’ which has a catchy chorus and had everyone joining in. A real vibrant sound and definitely a band I would love to see over in Scotland, check them out.
Next up we had The Baines, a five- piece Athlone band that are very supportive of upcoming talent within our Twitter music community and have been treating us to their own tunes since their release of ‘Like This Forever' last year.
It was a joy to meet them in person after all this time and with The Baines, you get the craic as well as the tunes all rolled into one. Kevin let us know he had arrived with his “Hey Belfast!” into the mic and straight into that first single with its punchy bass line before then dedicating ‘Not Me Mine’ to Laura Jayne, hearing that catchy upbeat track brought a smile to the birthday girl.
It was a positive start for them and I knew from chatting to them pre gig that despite this being their first one, it won't be their last and they seemed to get a buzz from being up there performing to us all.
There were some lovely harmonies in their slowed down new track ‘Dead End Streets’ and they did a brilliant job of picking up the pace again with some epic guitar solos and’ Bring It Up’ did exactly what it said and I'm sure by the time they were finishing off their set, they were wishing it had just started as had found their stride.
They had an ability as well to show their softer side mixed with that heavy influenced 90s indie sound we've become used to, they played a banger of a set and genuinely appreciated the opportunity and will only go from strength to strength with more gigs to come their way.
Last but by no means least were the headline for the evening Red Eye Pariah who have to be seen and heard to be believed. They came bounding out to their crowd and let me tell you that their sound is as bright and fluorescent as their guitar leads . What a performance.
Red Eye Pariah are an Antrim based band made up of Joe Dawson (Drums), Sammy Stevenson (Guitar/Vox), Deano Kelly(Guitar/Vox) and Alex Close (Bass) What struck me most about them was the energy and the chemistry on stage and their ability to flip through an eclectic mix of songs where it leaves you unsure how to determine who they sound like, catchy melodies, mixed genres and a natural front man who bounced about from the word go .. gave me vibes reminiscent of The Strokes but ultimately they are a unique band who formed during lockdown then sold out their first show. Hats off to them.
They only headlined their debut show and played to an electric sold out crowd in Voodoo Belfast on 4 Nov 2021 which then paved the way for three more sold out shows, Festival slots at Stendhal Festival and Wild Roots and allowed them to support Princess Goes to the Butterfly Museum but they sounded so established and like they've been on the scene doing this for quite some time.
The vocal from Deano on the first track of the night started almost delicately then boom he arrived as did Joe the drummer who whipped off his top and sat at the drums as if he was part of Biffy Clyro and knew this basement bar was going to get sweltering hot with their sound, this was a band where you have to expect the unexpected .
They flew through their set list with episodes of Deano and Alex jumping about with so much grinning from ear to ear. Deanos dad, James in the crowd singing back every word including the rapping was a delight
Such positive engagement with the crowd and a proper bounce especially during the track ‘Push Comes to Shove’ from their Koala Tea EP, wouldn't have been out of place on a festival stage with people crowd surfing.. if there had been room in McHughs that might have happened..
‘C.I.T.D.H’, another track that had their fans screaming for more, a thunderous chorus that you couldn't help but join in with.
I mean they packed a lot into their set including the dance classic ‘Touch Me’ and Deano also managed to go from that to commanding the room to sit down while he played the guitar and sang and the rest of the band sat down with the crowd, the sort of natural front man you want in a band that's definitely going places..
Their song ‘The Woman’ was one of my favourites from the night and I would highly recommend you all check them out. They were fun, unique, energetic and clearly four very talented musicians, a professional band, top lads and quoted by Dan Potter who organised this sold out show as a pleasure to work with, they had an ability to brighten a room and left me wanting to know more.
I would hope their festival appearances will allow them to start to tour to the rest of the UK, would be fantastic to see them picking up gigs in England and Scotland into 2023 and see more crowds appreciating their sound and them to look out to people wearing their Red Eye Pariah tees and wristbands.
More than worth the journey for me from Aberdeen to Belfast so a huge thanks to Dan Potter and to Paula for setting up such a brilliant evening, amazing line up and a well organised gig, an event to be proud of and three emerging bands for everyone to go and check out.