Saturday was St. Patrick's Day, and it was no surprise then to find three Irish bands playing Camden's Barfly on the preceding evening. Two of which I knew very little about (Dead School and Whipping Boy), plus Tieranniesaur, to whom I've become a decided convert.
Tieranniesaur have been doing rather well for themselves lately - An almost self-titled debut LP (Tieranniesaur!) came out in the summer of last year (available via Bandcamp) which has had a good amount of positive and well-deserved praise, and rightly so - it's a sharp-edged gem of a debut that pulls together some brilliant pop tunes, cooked up from a recipe that includes precise doses of Talking Heads, Moloko and dashes of The B-52's and Pizzicato 5.
Two singles with fantastic promo videos have also been released (Here Be Monsters and In The Sargasso)- created by the highly talented Bowsie Workshop, and earlier this month the band were first up to perform at Ireland's Meteor Choice Music Prize awards, having received a nomination for Album of the Year.
Unfortunately (for me), Tieranniesaur were again first on the bill and as I managed to arrive a good ten minutes late, cultivating a bastard of a cold - I kicked myself having missed a decent chunk of the set I had primarily come to see. Candy was playing as I made my way in and despite the bounciness of the song, the 'crowd' (all 12 of them ...) seemed to be infected with some kind of zombie virus - only one guy showing any sign of life. Still, the band didn't seem too dispirited (nerves of steel presumably) and managed to knock out truly brilliant renditions of both singles (see below).
Standout for me was Tieranniesaur's bass/drum section (Ian McFarlane and Ruan Lovebeach), just plain tight - keeping a great dance beat and yet wobbling out all over the place. Given a decent atmosphere and crowd, it's certain that they are surely able to get feet moving. It's just a shame that wasn't possible on the night. Hopefully, more responsive audiences were found and their following two gigs elsewhere across London at the weekend. If only the bill for Friday has been the other way around...
With the venue starting to fill up somewhat, next up came Dead School, who I wasn't expecting to be enthused by, but was happily proved wrong. With a handful of singles under their belt (Frailties, Standing on the Edge, Exude and 3:17), the band put out a powerful half-hour set reminiscent at times of Muse's heaviness, which was a step up a gear from the pop tunage of Tieranniesaur.
Standing on the Edge, with James McDonald(?) taking over vocal duties was a brooding monster of a track which by this time had fired some life into those gathered. If I'm being honest however, not exactly my kind of thing - but would I see them again? - Yeah for sure, but once more, preferably with a much longer time-slot.
A short break and then, with the Barfly fulled jammed, came Whipping Boy. I have the feeling that I ought to know who these guys are - They've been going since the late 80s, have had three acclaimed albums, but somehow our paths had not crossed. Evidently however, I was in a complete minority (with both my non-familiarity with the band, and my non-Irish accent), as every other person crammed into the venue was happily singing/shouting along the words of each of Whipping Boy's anthemic guitar-driven rock tunes.
Now I have nothing specifically against anthemic rock tunes, but it helps a lot if you know them in the first place. As it was - I didn't, so after staying for three or four songs I decided to stand up for my proud Anglo-Saxon heritage by heading a few doors down the road to The Lock Tavern, purchasing a flat, brown, East-Anglian ale, quietly saying "Terribly sorry" to no-one in particular every time I sneezed, before jumping the train back home to my little shack in the woods outside the big smoke.
Not my greatest night out of the year so far to be sure, but I'm certain a lot of other people would have had a wonderful night and ensuing few days celebrating St. Patrick's 'Weekend' with some undoubtedly lively bands from across the 'Little Water'.