Saturday, 10 February 2018

Review: Gigonometry - Emma Langford, The Elephant Room, Boom Child & The Felonies

The Felonies

Short clip of The Felonies

All photos: Remy Connolly

(Note: on desktop / laptop click on first photo to start slideshow)

Info: There's a few things you can't not do during the live music year and one of them is not going to at least one of the monthly Gigonometry showcases run by Dave Conway and his amazing team at The Workman's Club. I've discovered so many great acts courtesy of the consistent quality and well researched line-ups the gig night throws up.

On Thursday night I witnessed one of my best nights there, I had been looking forward to it for a number of reasons. Firstly to see Emma Langford live for the first time, whose debut album Quiet Giant was both my Album of the Month for October last year and in my Top 10 Irish Albums of 2017. It's an obvious thing to say, but it's always so reaffirming and a source of great joy when an artist is just as good if not better live than they are recorded. Langford played a beauty of a set, just her and her guitar, she has such a wonderful vocal range, and her songs have meaning. For her second last song of the night she did an improvised effect with her mouth that was fascinating, somehow imitating a jazz brass sound, initially I thought she must have been using a kazoo or something similar, until she just reverted straight back into singing. "Did she just do that with her mouth?" someone at the table next to me asked their friend, "Did she just do that with her mouth?" I thought at exactly the same time.

Emma Langford

The Elephant Room were up next, a band I was thankfully introduced to last year by someone on Twitter, I can't remember who, but the main thing is it happened. I love their sound an awful lot, it slips somewhere in between the cracks of lo-fi indie á la Pavement, Weezer stripped of their quirks and who knows what else. They've been releasing music since 2012 but thankfully it seems like they're finally getting the notice they well deserve, and I hope more people take heed as this year progresses. They can be nonchalant and then get their grunge on, lots of pedal experimenting and generally a blissful hazy sound that triggers a style of indie-rock that has grown in my DNA. I'll just stick a little taster below, their latest single 'Naive Green'.

The Elephant Room

I've heard so much about Boom Child over the last year and a bit that they were always in my subconscious to see live, here we are. The Dublin trio describe themselves as chaotic rock, tick. The performance is littered with humour, and quick-witted exchanges between band members between songs. It's always a risky game, something that could turn the Boom to Bomb, but they have it down, as an aficionado of comedy through all mediums, from Dad jokes to Rob Schneider's filmography, I can be hard to please. All joking aside (self-cringe), the spread of guitar-based genres Boom Child can run through is impressive. You will rock out, experience an abrupt jazz breakdown without warning, and get whipped by some disco-funk just as you think you are getting grips with their set, and you can't do all of that unless you are musicians of a certain standard.

Boom Child

On the Saturday night of Whelan's Ones To Watch last month I'd made a list of 14 acts I wanted to see, I ended up seeing 6, unfortunately The Felonies fell into the 8 bands I'd missed, my loss. Again a band I had been aware of for some time, despite them being relatively new. Hailing from the magical music factory that is BIMM, I was very happy to make up for it within the space of a few short weeks.

I'll get straight to the point here and say that it was right up there with one of the best live performances I've seen over the last 4 years by an Irish rock band, and probably the best one since the start of last year. There are more established bands that reside in the same genre as The Felonies who I love and have seen numerous times but on Thursday night, and on reflection yesterday and today I don't think I ever felt the same way after one of their shows. As a pessimist, purely to avoid continuous disappointment, I sometimes get minor anxiety that the whole great independent Irish music bulldozer of the last few years could burst and end any time soon, it can't last forever, and as every new year begins I hope it isn't the start of the end.

The Felonies dissipated that internal dread for the next 10 months at least. The entire set, every song, was entertaining. I hazard a guess that the four-piece are in their early twenties, some possibly slightly younger, and what struck me, and is so rare, is that it seemed like they had collectively consumed decades of rock music from the 1950's up to the modern day, which is obviously impossible unless you started listening to Elvis, Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry et al from the age of four. The only explanation can be that the talent, song-writing, music and scarily tight delivery is innate. This is what is exciting, and this is what blew my mind a little on the night, if I get that same buzz again from a rock band this year I'll feel like I've won the lottery. 

The Felonies