~Spies Seasonal Soiree~
Spies / Squarehead / Girl Band
Walking into the Grand Social last wednesday night for the “Spies Seasonal Soiree” felt something more like walking into that scene from “Total Recall”, you know, the bit on Mars where they turn off the oxygen and everyone looks like they’re melting? It was ROASTING in the packed out upper room of the venue and the lone wall fan that was laboring around in unconvincing rotations in order to push some of the sweaty air was unconvincing at best. You had to feel for the poor guy dressed up as Santa handing out the (free) mince pies. Glutton for punishment, or lost a bet. DEFINITELY one of the two.
Thank god the music was cracking, or i would have spent most of my time luxuriating in, what has to be said, is a damn fine smoking area.
Girl Band were the first to take to the stage and it was my first time seeing the Dublin quintet, and they’re definitely ones to watch. Their music has a 90’s grunge appeal that stands them apart from many of their compadriates on the, ahem, scene. Traversing genres throughout their songs, they hit upon rock, punk, speed metal etc and i think this diversity is to their credit. They’re damn good live, dispite their on stage mannerisms feeling a touch rehearsed at times. As a band, they seem to have a lot of fun powering through their set, which is intense to say the least. Special mention, it has to be said goes out to drummer, Adam Faulkner, who is phenomenal. You can find Girl Band on Bandcamp where they have their 3 track album as a free download.
Squarehead were the surprise act announced at a late hour and took to the stage after Girl Band. I’ve seen them a few times in the last few months (at their album launch in the Roisin Dubh, Galway and also at HWCH), and they seem to put on a different show every time. Bigger stages, such as the one at the Grand Social, suit them, and allow them to bounce around to their surfy sounding rock songs. Think the beach boys on acid - though thats not an accusation ;). Their energetic set was, as ever, seriously entertaining, albeit a bit short and lacking the performance of their own christmas tune “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)”, which is the Squarehead take on the festive tune. It’s available for free download on their Bandcamp page, http://squarehead.bandcamp.com/.
Spies - the hosts of the night - finished off the nights entertainment in style. Well, in saying that - there was one member of the band wearing a christmas hat which usually would be my cue to leave but I let it go - a festive pardon, of sorts. Again, this was my third time in a few months seeing Spies, (they had played the week previous in Crawdaddy as part of the Jagermeister Freezer Sessions) but on this night, they OWNED the place. I’m not sure if it was the fact that they were “headlining” the night that gave them the extra confidence, but there was definitely more swagger in the boys onstage then i had seen previously. I know its a VERY BIG comparison, but singer Michael Broderick always reminds me of a young Ian Curtis, minus the overwhelming angst. The fivesome absolutely killed it on stage, with renditions of all their older material, and the inclusion of a new song called “ghosts”. They finished the night at their proverbial cinderella deadline of 12am (despite lamenting to the crowd that they still had “two songs to go”), with their rendition of Whams’ “Last Christmas”, which they belted out with great aplomb, and funnily enough, with their credibility intact. ;) You can find Spies on Bandcamp where you can download their digital album for €3, as they’re “flat broke” - its worth the money.
The whole show was a blinder overall, this is one seasonal soiree I’m glad I managed.
(Written for www.cockandbulltv.com - click for link to site)