In the late 70’s and early 80’s Belfast found it’s sound. At a time of great struggle and difficultly, residents of the besieged Northern Irish capital took solace in a new form of music spilling-over from across the Irish Sea. And whilst the troubles may have dissipated, the resonating edgy tones of punk remained an indicative cornerstone of the Belfast music scene. One such flag bearer for the favoured genre took to the rough and ready stage of Hangar in Dublin last Saturday night.
Before I review the gig I think it’s only fair that I provide a few words on the venue. Last Saturday was my first time inside the doors of Hangar, a venue which started its life as a shirt factory in the heart of Dublin city. Over the years production ceased and the warehouse in Andrews Lane became a music venue/nightclub. With exposed walls and no discerning features bar a stage and sound desk, Hangar works well as a blank canvas and takes nothing from the artist. But at the same time it exudes a distinct atmosphere and character and this seemed to add layers to Girls Names intense performance.
Opening with “The New Life” the title track from their highly successful 2013 release, it was to be one of the few familiar songs dished out. But that’s not to say that the night was without substance. The plethora of new material (of which I will not pretend to know) seemed to be well received by the intimate audience. More recognisable nuggets came in the form of “Zero Triptych” an 11 minute juggernaut of a song and of course “Hypnotic Regression”. The latter was preceded with an apology for the abundance of new material. But judging from the sheer quality of what was on offer, it was an apology that fell on deaf ears.
What Girls Names delivered last Saturday might may very well turn out to be a seminal chapter in an impressive origin story. The cornerstone of any talented band is forged through the relationship between bass player and drummer. And this is something that Gib Cassidy and Claire Miskimmin have in absolute abundance. Adding an enigmatic front-man and overall desire to progress and develop a signature sound, Girls Names certainly have all necessary ingredients in place.
Forgiving their one (mortal) sin of ending the set with a less than familiar track and not following up with the standard encore, the Hangar gig was still pretty impressive. I’ll happily put it down to character building and eagerly look forward to the October’s release.