REVIEW: We Are Knives/ The Radio, Belfast Empire Music Hall 7th January 2006

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An oddly eclectic line-up for the first major local gig of the year. When Pilots Eject and Rivals had already been on earlier so it was left to The Radio and WAK to finish off the evening.
The Radio are from Dublin and released an album back in 2004, although I don't recall them ever playing in Belfast before. Their members have been around for a few years in other bands - most notably Rollerskate Skinny and Chicks. They've got a hard slot tonight though and a lot of the audience don't know about them, and don't care either. That's a shame because I really enjoyed them. They are far too mellow to win over the crowd who are here mainly for Rivals or We Are Knives, but for those of us who remember the gentler side of 80s-90s indie (Mazzy Star, House of Love, Primitives) they go down just fine. It's funny that I was listening to the Heart Throbs for the first time in a dozen years earlier today, as they are yet another act I could compare the Radio to.
We Are Knives are on last, and happily a lot of the crowd have stayed on to watch them. It was quite a nice touch to dedicate the set to Derek Bailey, the improv-guitarist who died on Christmas Day. The last time I saw WAK they were awesome, and they were awesome again tonight. I watch the first couple of tunes from upstairs and they sound great but it's not until I get downstairs that I appreciate the bass! The bass rig is obviously too large to go through the PA, but it sure shakes the floor in the Music Hall. I have to recommend this band to anyone who has an interest in (even slightly) experimental guitar music, whether it's jazz, hardcore punk, post-rock or math-rock or whatever you want to call it, We Are Knives are just a great live band.

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