Last Friday provided the first of what will hopefully be many good gigs in my new surroundings. Before heading to Galway I had heard great things about the Roisin Dubh and The Black Box and knew that these often housed big names. However I was totally ignorant of Richardsons on Eyre Square as a music venue until Tubelord rolled into town. Richardsons is the kind of venue you can’t imagine in too many places outside of Ireland. It’s small, very, very small. With carpeted floors and pallets stacked at one side and tables and chairs lying about in no particular order in the other, it’s hard to see how this place functions as venue, but functions it does and in a weird way those imperfections add character to the place, even if the sound is slightly fucked.
Tubelord enjoy a cult status in Cork and always draw a crowd of devoted fans ready to sing, shout and dance along. It appears the Englishmen have yet to foster the same level of support in Galway as the compact venue still retained pockets of space. The performance itself ranged from the ridiculous to the sublime.The band were fronted by a small brown table adorned with a plant in what initially appeared some sort of misguided pretentious statement. However all was soon revealed as lead singer Joseph Prendergast informed the crowd that he was suffering from a medical condition which had temporarily stolen his distinctive voice, the greedy thing. The table, it turned out was so a close friend of the band could fill in as singer and casually flip the pages of lyrics between songs.
To his credit the substitute didn’t do a bad job considering Prendergast’s tendency for high-pitched squeaky choruses but you got the feeling his friend was imitating more than singing. As if the night wasn’t already posing enough challenges, midway through the set a snapped string provided an unwelcome intermission which didn’t help win over the crowd and some unwarranted ramblings were directed at the performers. Snapped strings and strange singers aside Tubelord rocked out in their customary fashion blaring their infectious brand of energetic math rock.
Since 2009’s debut album ‘Our First American’ friends the band have recorded an EP on Hassle Records entitled ‘Tezcatlipoca’ and, just like every other and these days, they’ve added a keyboardist/synth player to their arsenal. While new addition James Elliot Field added little or nothing to the older tracks, he definitely offers something more on the latest pieces which have a more varied sound tilting towards more melodic while retaining some punch. The set was dominated by the two Hassle Record releases but room was made for old favourites such as ‘Feed Me a Bolx of Words’. ‘Night of the Pencils’ was a notable absentee from the set list but even without the landmark anthem the performance was enough to whet the appetite.
Support on the night came from Northern rockers Axis Of who impressed with their display of ballsy punk/hardcore. Creating a hell of a racket for a three-piece the band seem to fall slap in the middle of punk and metal. At the lighter times hints of Bad Religion and Alkaline Trio are apparent while the heavier tracks bring to mind Dublin’s BATS. The lads have also clearly been reading And So I Watch You From Afar‘s guide to stage presence, leaping around with little regard for their own health/equipment but creating one hell of a spectacle in the process.