Walking On Cars + support The Emerald Armada | Review
CHSQ in association with Belfast live
By Tracey Hanby • Photography: Tremaine Gregg
CHSQ presents a series of summer headline shows featuring international artists in the historic setting of Custom House Square and are taking place throughout the month of August. Remaining nights with some ticket availability are Foy Vance Saturday 19, Kasabian Tuesday 22 & Ocean Colour Scene 25 August but you would want to be quick to purchase tickets before they are likely to sell out.
This is an excellent location in central Belfast city with local parking & transport to access this unique concert venue. The adjacent buildings surrounding the stage also act as a sound trap. Lucky for the surrounding apartment owners/tenants who came out on their balconies to join in on the festivities.
No need for wellies here due to the dry terrain & the sun shined making it perfect for an outdoor event but it has to be mentioned that it was great to see an MS charity on hand to sell ponchos if the heavens did open.
The support act for the night was The Emerald Armada gave a stellar performance. This five piece Belfast band describes themselves as a “heavy hitting, Irish influenced, five piece, alternative folk band. Dominating any crowd with a wall of harmonies built on a melodic foundation of deep, rich electric & acoustic guitars all driven by a furious percussion section made up of a thundering Bodhrán and pounding kick drum” I was delighted to witness the large audience assembled immediately step forward as soon as these local musicians grabbed their instruments. It was like a Homecoming gig without having to leave their native city.
A really warm flow to their performance with mostly up-tempo catchy tracks worthy of being featured on my radio show 100% Irish on Dundalk FM. A lovely vocal tone with colloquial accent reminding me of the likes of Bry or Rainy Boy Sleep (RIP+) but also looked like another talented local artist Bee McSee who much to a welcome surprise also happened to be working at the event. As they finished their last song of the night they thanked Walking on Cars for having them and also for having a local support act for a prime showcase slot in front an audience which they also thanked for coming out early to see their set. Clearly proving they are a really grounded, grateful & hardworking band. One to watch for the future for sure.
The change over took a little while with a huge team of stage staff working as quick as possible, they even polished the stages so they were shiny. During this wait I did witness a very busy merchandising stand, a very important extra revenue stream for any band, another testament to their popularity.
Conceived in 2010 Walking on Cars are a five-piece Irish alternative rock band featuring former school friends Patrick Sheehy, Sorcha Durham, Dan Devane, Paul Flannery & Evan Hadnett. Performing gigs at local venues & clubs in their hometown of Dingle they committed to their music ambitions by renting a house together & locking themselves away from any distraction, solely for the purpose of listening, writing & recording demos.
Their first debut single ‘Catch me if you can’ was released 2012 going straight into number 1 on the iTunes chart in Ireland. This also coincided with winning the Red bull Bedroom Jam competition gaining them extensive radio play. Eventually resulting in a top chart position of number 27 for their single in the Irish National Charts where it remained placed for over 20 weeks. They followed up this success with a much anticipated release of their debut EP As We Fly South in 2013, EP Hand In Hand in 2014 and finally their first full album Everything This Way in 2016. No wonder there was so much anticipation by a strong following at this concert.
The energetic front man jumped out onto the stage dancing from the first song making me wonder did he do hip-hop dancing in a former life especially with wearing hoody over his signature hat, a look that strongly adding to this theory. It was not until the third song did he pick up his guitar, which was actually great to see. No hiding behind an instrument. He was communicating with his audience from the get go. Signalling to follow his hand gestures, dancing & joining in with the lyrics everyone was enjoying their infectious chart topping music throughout the whole show. But one question continues to elude me has anyone else ever thought his vocal is like Charlie Simpson formerly of Busted?
Much to my delight my favourite song ‘Catch me if you can’ was played twice, again as part of their five song encore ending the night with a breathtaking rendition of ‘Speeding Cars’.
For me this concert was another proud moment to cross the border to witness. Having played pretty much most of their album on my radio show I felt like a proud mother to see this electric gig of yet another chart topping Irish band for the first time. I always judge a band on their ability to play their music live true to their produced standard. These guys know how to deliver right on par. May they have continued success & enjoy much longevity.
Written by: Tracey Hanby, Music Promoter ‘Gigs Ireland’ & Dundalk FM broadcaster ‘100% Irish’ & ‘Gigs Ireland presents The Takeover’
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