Gig: The Ambience Affair & Windings
Thursday night saw the first gig of the Certain Three Tour featuring Windings, The Ambience Affair and We Cut Corners, come to Galway’s Rosin Dubh. Unfortunately I missed openers We Cut Corners, whom I’ve been meaning to check out for a while. In truth though it was the latter acts that had provided the real pull to the gig, the free admission didn’t hurt too. I last saw The Ambience Affair at 2008’s Hard Working Class Heroes. I remember being intrigued by the then two-piece who struggled to master their array of loop and effects pedals but had an appealing and distinct sound. Windings, for all the acclaim their 2010 album It’s Never Night got, were still something of an unturned stone, with just two songs on my iTunes.
The Ambience Affair, complete with new recruit, bassist Yvonne Ryan, were second on stage. The band may have an updated member list but they haven’t deviated in terms of style and sound and are still making engaging and original tunes which are a celebration of layered guitar and vocals with frontman Jaime Clarke taking multi-tasking to a new level. Clarke is backed up masterfully by drummer Marc Gallagher and Ryan but make no mistake he is the focal point. His powerful vocals are belted out furiously in vain-popping dedication to the performance. Compelling though the music was, it was unfortunate to see the band are still plagued by the same problems. Clarke appears something of a perfectionist. Just like in 2008 songs had to be cut off and re-started. He places a certain level of pressure on himself, between the guitar, singing and pedal controlling. Rather than adapt to bum-notes and recover, he insists on calling a halt to songs to the frustration of those in attendance. It is the only glitch in an otherwise fantastic live show.
With the dance floor filling up nicely Windings took to the stage. Decked out in check-shirts, bootcut jeans and skater shoes, it was refreshing to see a modern act not feeling the need to conform to some indie stereotype. Singer Steve Ryan was more than comfortable speaking to the crowd and the band really gave off the impression of being nice, ordinary guys. Unfortunately that’s how the music was too, nice and ordinary. The performance wasn’t bad, nor was the music but perhaps that’s because Windings play a safe brand of indie rock, it’s unadventurous and inoffensive. It was the kind of performance that wouldn’t force you to retire to the smoking area, but equally it did little to promote buying the album.