Saturday, 18 July 2015

Live: Neon Atlas - Upstairs @ Whelans, 16th July

Neon Atlas Band Cork

Photo: Remy Connolly

Info: In the lead up to the release of their next album, Grafitti Reality, which is released on the 31st of July, Cork band Neon Atlas kicked off a three night mini-tour of 3 provinces with a gig upstairs in Whelans in Dublin. The show preceded last nights gig at the Galway Fringe Festival at Club K and tonight's performance in their home county at Pine Lodge in Myrtleville.

Following support from Dublin indie band Admission and Killarney native Aaron Fleming who is also based in Dublin, Neon Atlas got down to business in front of a relatively small crowd compared to what they would face over the next two nights. I won't delve too much into the bands sound and what it touches on for me right now as there will be an album review on the way shortly, but it does in some ways take me back to a very enjoyable and specific period of the harder edge of alternative indie rock music from just over 10 years ago.

Neon Atlas Band Cork Grafitti Reality
Photo: Remy Connolly

Out of the set played the definite highlight for me was 'Velocity', perhaps because I've fallen into the trap of flitting between both of the bands excellent singles which they've released to date as well as the opening track on Grafitti Reality, 'Panic Button'. Other highlights were the pop-veering 'Get Up' and also a throwback to their previous album Absolute Magnitude in the form of 'Juniper'. The strangest part of the gig for me was how the venue sat with the music, it was pleasantly bizarre to be in the upstairs venue of Whelans (which I do love) whilst witnessing some of Neon Atlas' harder tunes. 

The music was, at times, bursting to get beyond the confined spaces, along with new band member Tom Cahalane on lead guitar duties, Rob Cahill's drumming was a joy to behold, rapid and tearing shreds through you at points. Whilst the venue is limited in terms of space, this is the third gig I've been to now with more than three band members where the drummer is plunged into a dark corner and it's a bit of a shame, if understandable at the same time. All in all I really enjoyed hearing some familiar and new songs from Neon Atlas in Whelans and a very tight set that rolled together as one between all four band members, and I got to meet a sheep in the bar afterwards, but that's a story for another day.

Rob Cahill Neon Atlas
Photo: Remy Connolly

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