Review: TRACER AMC + TORGAS VALLEY REDS Belfast Auntie Annie's 5th September 2004

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Belfast Auntie Annie's 5th September 2004

The difficult thing about local music is that the good bands are spread so thin that you end up seeing them far more often than you might like. In my opinion, Tracer and Torgas are head and shoulders above any other acts from Northern Ireland and consequently I have seen both of them an awful lot.
Tonight they are both sound fresh to me as I haven't seen either of them in a few months, plus the PA in Auntie Annie's has been beefed up a bit and this gives both bands an extra kick.
Having started off this review by lumping both bands together I should point out that they are actually quite different in terms of the music they play. Torgas Valley Reds are a powerful three-piece who play infectiously catchy punk rock, coming across as a reinvigorated version of their earlier band Backwater with better songs. The debut single 'Torgas Valley Blue'/ ' Me and My Buddies Would Vote For You' is a good place to start, and judging by tonight's set there's a lot more where that came from. They have been very prolific during their brief existence and I've watched their set expand and contract as they add and drop songs each time they play, although I get the feeling it is now shaping up to be a very strong half hour of songs.
Tracer AMC by contrast are an all instrumental four piece who earlier this released their debut album 'Flux and Form' to healthy acclaim from radio and press types all over the place. They do fit broadly into the post-rock pigeonhole with long songs, time changes and intricate guitar parts, but instead of just copying a formula Tracer have something distinct. Tonight they ignore most of the debut album to concentrate on new material, most of which is being heard for the first time. On initial hearing it seems rawer, edgier than the album material, and it goes down well. It will be interesting to hear how the recorded versions sound, but it bodes very well for the follow-up to 'Flux and Form'.

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