By Killian Laher
FMC Tour – And So I Watch You From Afar, Jape, Fionn Regan, Cloud Castle Lake – Whelans, Dublin, Nov 20th 2010
This was the final night of a short tour around Ireland organised by First Music Contact and showcasing 3 Irish acts: And So I Watch You From Afar (ASIWYFA), Fionn Regan and Jape, plus a different support act each night. Apparently the 3 acts have rotated the order each night, with each one taking turns to headline.
The first act tonight was Cloud Castle Lake, fronted by a young fellow barely out of school. His high pitched vocals were the basis for some interesting music with heavy emphasis on keyboards, with cello added in for good measure. Their music had shades of Sigur Ros, and even Radiohead.
Next up was Fionn Regan with acoustic guitar and harmonica. He was a little out of place with a line up of bands, and it seemed the crowd thought so too. In Hey Rabbit he sang of “hearing voices” and right on cue it seemed like someone turned up the chatter from the crowd!
Nevertheless he displayed some good guitar work, reminding me at times of Ryan Adams, though it wasn’t really a night for singer-songwriters. Played some decent songs like Put a Penny in the Slot and Be Good or Be Gone. And he was.
Jape turned the energy levels right up with Richie Egan’s tuneful funk. I don’t know what “funky” really means, but if it exists, it’s Richie Egan. With so much energy displayed on stage Jape came close to stealing the show with his danceable, anthemic songs. Overdid it slightly by trying to take Strike Me Down literally with fists to the head, but with Floating he had arguably the song of the night. A great performer whose live shows should not be missed.
ASIWYFA came on and the place erupted before they played a song, with one of the guitarists hoisting his guitar into the crowd, as people clamoured to touch it. D is for Django the Bastard was appropriated to D is for Dublin you bastards! Then proceeded to go absolutely bananas on the stage, accompanying the musical mayhem in a blizzard of beards and bad hair. The overall affect was so good I laughed out loud.
Their music is not for the faint hearted, bulldozing riffs and smashing drums, almost heavy metal. Though it would be wrong to describe ASIWYFA as just an all-out assault, there are plenty of subtleties within each track.
They powered through tracks like Straight Though The Sun, and the IMF-dedicated These Riots Are Just The Beginning. There was no let up as one of the band ran through the crowd with beautiful heavy goose-bump inducing riffage. Set Guitars To Kill, indeed.
Overall, at €15 fantastic value was had, even at twice the price it would have been a great night that will stay with me. ASIWYFA were the stars of the show with an incendiary performance, but Jape were a very close second, reaffirming their power in concert.