With the sombre days of winter rapidly becoming a distant memory, it was out with the old and in with the new last Friday at Mc Kenna’s Bar, Monaghan town. The family run establishment was infiltrated with the newest Irish alternative sounds thanks to ‘Chew Your Own Fat Records’, a Dublin based Indie record label established as recently as 2012 but already making waves in the music industry. So, with three bands to look forward to I decided to tag along and, with the added bonus of no admission fee I had more cash to flash at the bar.
There is a certain stage presence that cannot be faked, when an artist truly believes in the sounds they’re producing and genuinely revels in a performance. ‘New Valley Wolves’, a newly formed Dublin rock two-piece, are proof of that. I must confess to being a perpetual cynic at the notion of a band minus a bassist, but admittedly I was premature in my estimations. The duo had no difficulty in grabbing the crowd’s attention. Reminiscent of stoner rockers ‘Queens Of The Stone Age’ the highlight of their energetic set was the infectious anthem ‘Fire In The Blood.’ No doubt 2013 will be the year ‘New Valley Wolves’ will make their mark on the music scene.
There are three words to describe the next serving of talent; Intense, Loud, and Unpredictable. ‘Abandcalledboy’, hailing from Belfast took to the stage, their first time performing in Monaghan and they didn’t disappoint. Describing themselves as a ‘Hard-core Fun Power Trio’ they lived up to that expectation with an exceedingly vivacious set. The abrasive ‘Seize the Chair’ caught my attention with its upbeat, authentic and aggressive sound. Gaining momentum up and down the country with a secure fan base firmly behind them; it is no wonder that they’re greeted with such critical acclaim. Providing a refreshing, tumultuous, raw, no bullshit sound, drawing heavily on punk /metal influences the trio are certainly a force to be reckoned with.
The atmosphere remained charged as Dublin natives ‘Val Normal’ graced the stage and proved they were worthy of headlining the event. Having recently released their début album ‘Plans? What Plans?’ to rave reviews , the outfit took Mc Kenna’s by storm with their dynamic performance enthralling the gig goers with their post-grunge sound, melodic and rich, yet certainly knows how to pack a punch. The musicianship between the trio is immense, complimentary and honed to perfection, which is translated to the audience beautifully. The cleverly titled ‘Metal Gear Salad’ provided a smorgasbord of delights, a calm haunting intro followed by ‘take no prisoners’ approach with heavy guitars, thundering drums and angry bass. ‘Val Normal’ are clearly on their way to the top and destined for greatness this year.
As the revellers headed home, satisfied with bellies full of the newest ‘Chew Your Own Fat’ helpings and bleary eyed from inebriation, I’m with the generality on this one, the night was a sheer success and I greatly anticipate the next music night Mc Kenna’s has to offer.
Review by Hazel Creaney.
For more information on the bands check out:
Val Normal: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Val-Normal/187179897640
New Valley Wolves: http://www.facebook.com/pages/New-Valley-Wolves/381308568605784\