VANN MUSIC

VANN MUSIC

CYPRUS AVENUE

FRIDAY 27TH MARCH

Word by – The Hypnotyst

As we arrive the atmosphere is distinctly subdued, more like a business meeting than a concert venue. The support act The Tree Sleepers warm the crowd up very well with their blend of gypsy, folk and punk. They are West Cork regulars and get the crowd enthused.

Vann Music take to the stage and kick into their set. They have an impressive array of musical equipment on stage: a few Fender guitars (Telecasters and Stratocasters), bass, Korg synths, laptops, MIDI controllers of various types; and of course live drums. The crowd are widely dispersed and the band are trying to pull them together with their music. Vann Music seem to engage the audience in an unusual way, through the power of their hypnotic music. The music stays at a steady tempo through out the concert, which gives this listener the feeling that we are listening to a hypnotic meditation. Most of their music has a very “samey” feeling to it, but in this lies it’s full impact and power. Their sound is very reminiscent of early U2 from the 80s, in addition to U2 from the 90s, when they were going through their electronic music phase. Vann Music are very adept at combining these 2 styles together, to produce their own blend of synthy indie. The usual “ebb and flow” of musical emotions and musical intensity one comes to expect when watching a gig, are abandoned in favor of this hypnotic feeling the band produce. We are treated to a new song which has not been performed before and their Number 1 hit “Boy”. This song is my personal favorite of the band’s, and reflects the peak of their song writing.

The two guitarists in the band are constantly switching between synths and guitars, which adds to the musical diversity of the show, as the lead singer and drummer stick to their positions, anchoring the audience into their way performing music. During the set, the singer informs us that this is the biggest crowd we have played to in Cork. Claiming that there were only four people in the audience the first time. We can see that they have grown from strength to strength. They have come very far since their inception and will no doubt have much further to go, and much more to offer the world in terms of music. As the final song of the night we are treated to an excellent cover of the almighty David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance.” This was the climax point of the whole gig, which left the audience with something to hum on the way home. This reviewer felt at peace when leaving the venue, knowing that there are many more great things to come for Vann Music.

The band have also just been confirmed for the Castlepalooza Festival, which should be an excellent summer concert. I, for one, cannot wait.

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THE THIN AIR MAGAZINE LAUNCH CORK

The atmosphere is the always the same in the Crane Lane. It is one of the few places that can always be counted on to have an eager crowd ready to move to the sound of music. The place is packed with anticipation as it is The Thin Air’s official printed magazine launch, for the Cork region, having previously been available in Dublin and Belfast. On the cover is the Cork band The Altered Hours, whose members are present at the gig. The cover title “Alive and Awake” suggests the mood of the audience who have gathered here to witness this occasion. Tonight’s event was put on in conjunction with FIFA Records Cork, who have hand picked tonight’s bands from their roster.

These bands are Johnny Rep, Hope is Noise, and The Vincent(s). Also adding their musical influences during the show was the DJ stylings of Mike McGrath Bryan, who is one of the contributors to the magazine, on a regular basis. A little side note here; we were treated to the amazing photography skills of Brid O’Donovan, who is the main photographer for the Cork region of The Thin Air. Some very fine prints were on sale of The Altered Hours.

After creating a vibe of anticipation and “give-it-to-me-now”, the first band Johnny Rep, take the stage and launch into their set. After watching a few songs, it’s clear the crowd have come to see the headlining act. But just when it appears as if the crowd are bored, they surge together and start moving to the music wafting out of the speakers. Johnny Rep have accomplished what they set out to do: get the audience’s musical juices flowing for the evening. Now the crowd are ready for more, in the shape of Hope is Noise.

At this point I should make readers aware, that unfortunately the sound was not at its finest, and somehow seemed to get worse and worse. It was far too loud (something I take pride in NEVER having to say! Remember: if it’s too loud, you are too OLD!!). However my ears were starting to burn and ring, and as I like hearing music, I felt the need to move back a small bit! Hope is Noise are a Cork noise-punk-rock collective, who does what it says on the tin. Each song is like a sonic assault on the senses. One can’t hep but feel that the lead singer is shouting at the audience, like a conductor trying to conduct a symphony of cacophony. Beating the lister into submission through physical force alone, the need for songs seems almost secondary!  However, this is making the crowd writhe, wriggle and jump with great glee. They remind me of 90s American sloppy punk rock bands, energy flowing out of them in every single direction.

Now the mood in the Crane Lane takes a sharp incline upwards, as the crowds start gathering in bigger numbers to join The Vincent(s) in celebration of this event. The first two songs set the tone well; with big fat synths, next to pulsating bass lines, super tight drumming and Mark Allen’s unmistakably rough and bluesy vocals. Sounding like a husky Les Claypool channeling the spirit of Jim Morisson whilst on an acid trip, the audience are listening to his every word, and I can’t help but move! At one point a guitar string needs to be changed and we are treated to some choice 4 letter words from Mark about us. Is he joking? Will we ever know? Despite Mark’s tongue lashings, the band propel into the next song with even great energy, feeling like they have something to prove. As they finish the gig the their two finest songs, I Asked Her To The Dance and Who’s That Boy?, this listener can hear the influence that their recent collaboration with Courtney Taylor-Taylor has created. They finished on a high note as Mark started breaking gear in true rock and roll style!

Congratulations to The Thin Air, I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for them and the Cork music scene. Copies are available from Pludg Records in the Triskel.