Echo and the Always performed live at the Garage for their latest EP launch with support from Simon Parton, Polaris and the Adelines.
Despite my arriving over two hours after the doors opened (and unfortunately missing Simon Parton), the second support act still hadn’t performed, although the crowd were being surprisingly good-natured about it. Perhaps I’m just more used to the rowdy students you get at Sin, but there was definitely a noticeable lack of grumbling from the audience while they waited for Polaris to come on.
This band had a lot of enthusiasm despite the small numbers that are always a risk when you open a gig at a local. The drums were too strong and far too basic for most of the songs they played; they distorted the vocals and made it hard to differentiate between songs. The band’s cover of Alex Clare’s “Too close” was surprisingly well worked and involved its own twist rather than a straight-up copy of the original. There were a couple of instances where the riffs got out of control and the chorus was allowed to take over: all too often being a one-liner that the lyricist evidently liked the sound of. For the final number the bass and guitar were a lot stronger, and the vocals stood out enough to warm the audience up before the second support.
There’d been a hiatus between the gig at the Garage and the last time I saw the Adelines perform at a tiny little bar/café in the middle of nowhere. Since then their sound and style have developed with fantastic results; the drumbeats were sustained, energetic, and the vocals were much more controlled. Each band member had a distinctive persona onstage and the overall effect was professional without being contrived, despite the fact that at least one or two of them had had a couple of drinks before they went on. The set-list itself was well-constructed and honest, with some Yeah Yeah Yeahs influence and a touch of the Vaccines. The opening and closing instrumental was maybe ten to twenty seconds too long, but the Adelines’ performance still remains the best I’ve seen from a support act in a long while.
The Echo and the Always
Having heard nothing previously by Echo and the Always I had no clue what to expect. The sound wasn’t great but to be fair the slightly dodgy acoustics in the Garage never help. There was way too much talking throughout, and I’m pretty sure I heard a “get on with it” during one of lead vocalist Laura Hancock’s longer speeches. The vocals didn’t seem to work very well with the sound of the band but improved in the last couple of songs. One major high point in the band was Angela Muir on keys and trumpet, consistent throughout and in need of an extra solo or two to show off what seems to be a very unsung talent. Their EP “Lemonade” is a better example of what this band can achieve, with clear-cut lyrics and some fantastic instrumentals.
By Roisin O’Connor
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Last updated 23:45 22/01/2013