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.