Garage rock band The Bell Diver Spiders’ single launch took place in Kelly’s Cellars on Friday 30th of June. Conor Martin and William Thompson were on the case to check it out.
The night kicked off with a set from Saint Sapphire. Theirs was a clutch of solid pop-punk tunes, with some hard rock influences thrown in to keep things interesting. One of the things I really like about this band is how fun they can be on a purely visual level, as front man Sam Morgan rarely stops headbanging or dancing. This wouldn’t mean much if the music wasn’t good, but luckily it is. The flashy lead guitar of Thomas Ferris in particular is a real treat, especially on their very catchy single, “She’s a Hero.”
Next up was Alpha Twin. This was actually an unusual set from them, in that it wasn’t accompanied by a great sweaty mosh pit. Still, their foolproof blend of Royal Blood, Rage Against the Machine and up-tempo punk continues to impress. Nobody on the local scene writes songs as good for slow headbanging as Alpha Twin, especially the Ecstasy and Audio Bomb, both of which can be found on Spotify. They also managed to get an “Oh Jeremy Corbyn” chant going during the 2nd verse of their cover of Seven Nation Army. As if there wasn’t enough to love already!
Next came Red House, who got the biggest reaction from the crowd up to that point. The style of their material was varied, with blues-influenced numbers like Are You Gonna Be My Girl by Jet and original song Scorpion Woman sitting comfortably alongside a cover of I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor by Arctic Monkeys. The audience danced and cheered throughout the set, egged on by furious Chuck Berry-style duckwalking from lead guitar player Adam McCallan, matched only by the near constantly gyrating bassist Odhrán Cassidy. One particular highlight was new original Taxi, which hinted at a new, more indie-influenced direction for the band.
The final band of the night was obviously The Bell Diver Spiders, who had staged the gig to launch their new single Me and Her, which has already received multiple plays on BBC radio. The strength of this band lies in the quality of their original songs, which I think are largely unmatched in the local scene (with the possible exceptions of Alpha Twin and Brand New Friend). Although all rooted in indie/garage rock, their material is more than varied enough to keep things fresh over the course of their set. Covers of James’ Laid and Molly’s Chambers by Kings of Leon were also thrown in for good measure. The high point of the set (and indeed the night) had to be their encore, which consisted of them playing their single Me and Her for the second time. This time however, lead singer Vince no longer had to sing the chorus, as the crowd had him more than covered. An audience knowing and singing back the lyrics to an original tune is a rare enough sight in the local scene, and one I hope to see again soon. As their drummer Conor said afterwards, “there’s nothing better than when people know the words.” All in all, a fantastic night of local music.
Photos by William Thompson
Review by Conor Martin