We were invited to check out Sideline Fire’s single launch in Whelan’s last Thursday night with support from Chinese Newspaper. Eager fans watched the soundcheck in anticipation for the show to come. It’s an audience of mostly youngsters keeping the live music scene alive.
Chinese Newspaper take to the stage, shoes are off and they are ready to go. Blasting straight into their indie flavoured garage rock. Their groovy attitude driven tracks are perfect for a shimmy and mosh all at once. They coax the crowd to dance and move “We are here for your enjoyment”. Showing off their moodier grungier side ‘It Follows’ gets the crowd moshing and going wild. The guys have a cool nonchalant stage presence as they pierce with shrilling distortion on guitar and throttling drums over agonising expressive vocals. “Scream if you love hash” guitarist and vocalist Killian Barrett shouts at the crowd as they go nuts. The band sing happy birthday to a member of the crowd urging everyone to buy him a drink. A cover of Pixies ‘Where Is My Mind‘ follows causing a manic mosh frenzy among the crowd, as the birthday boy crowd surfs victoriously. The band bellow out a pretty slick rendition of the track to yelps and whoops from the audience. From here on out it’s absolute anarchy there is no controlling the crowd as they become consumed with the blasting tracks. ‘If Not Now Then When?’ finishes off their set soaked in sunny golden guitar lines, thumping drums and swagger infused vocals. It’s a pretty smooth rough and tumble burst of indie rock. The verses glide and groove with effortless sun kissed slickness while the chorus explodes with forceful mighty garage rock. It’s a fiery blustery set from Chinese Newspaper, a band to definitely keep an eye out for.
Following a lengthy wait for drummer Eric Walsh’s diva entrance. Sideline Fire begin their set after mocking him a little. They are a playful cheeky bunch, their show is light, fun and carefree with humorous banter throughout. Sound wise it’s a tight slick display. They wear their influences on their sleeves. These guys are starting out so it’s a little rough around the edges at times but they show real promise. The crowd dance and sing along from the start to their catchy pop melodies smothered in punchy indie rock, it’s a crowd-pleasing combination. Their original songs are well layered and balanced – rich danceable rhythms teamed with tight crashing guitars, some pretty slick solos and catchy melodies. ‘I Don’t Wanna Go’ fleshes out their Catfish and The Bottlemen influence a little. Actually, we see a lot of Catfish and The Bottlemen covers (which the crowd went wild for) so that’s no surprise. The band waste no time in getting the crowd engaged, guitarist John Fitzgerald throws band stickers into the crowd after their rendition of Arctic Monkeys ‘Brianstorm’. This gets the audience rowdy and savage, the band know what their audience like and they deliver it. Each original track displays a subtle growth in the band’s sound ‘No Patience’ showcasing a darker croony side to their catchy bubbly indie rock. They take the opportunity to display their versatility as a band as well as entertain. A few your mother jokes and a lot of crowd surfing later and we come close to the track everyone is here for, but before that a feisty rendition of Royal Blood’s ‘Figure It Out’ which holds a lot of excitement both in mishaps and crowd interaction. Vocalist Andrew Berry’s guitar strap breaks during the song, fortunately bassist Evan Butler’s mother comes to his aid like a ninja and fixes it. The crowd hardly notice, they are busy moshing jumping and going uncontrollably wild. Launch track. ‘Outside’ is announced to a mass of cheers and whoops as they belt out the indie banger. The band close the show on an unplanned cover of Arctic Monkeys ‘I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor’. The crowd go crazy shouting back the lyrics, it’s savage anarchy, practically everyone has a go at crowd surfing and there was no stopping them. They yell for one more song and the band oblige with the perhaps obvious choice Catfish and The Bottlemens’ ‘Kathleen’. What can I say the room erupted, a pretty explosive end to their show. The crowd were manic and pumped and this track just set them all off.
Young fresh Irish talent was oozing from Whelan’s last Thursday night and both these bands display promise and slick showmanship. Sideline Fire know their audience and they give them exactly what they want, a skill which will make them very popular in the future. A youthful exuberant show which is pretty impressive from this newly formed band.