It was a busy week for Shizznigh promotions with live music events every night across multiple venues. We decided to catch the most varied line up on the bill. On Thursday, the Empire hosted Belfast’s own ‘Empty Lungs’ as they embark on an extensive European tour with co-headliners ‘Lost Love’ from Montreal. Supporting these two bands were ‘Sleeping Outside’ and ‘Hand Models’. Unfortunately the gig clashed with the biggest sporting event in the country taking part in the same city, Northern Ireland vs. Switzerland in a qualifying match for the European World Cup (I think i got that right?), and this resulted in a lower head count than expected!
First to take the stage were ‘Hand Models’ with their second gig of the night after having just played the Oh Yeah Music Centre; this did not affect their enthusiasm and they were still able to provide an excellent set. Hand Models wear their modern punk and grunge influences on their sleeve and delivered a polished set with well placed vocal harmonies and really no room for criticism. It is clear to see why this band has been picked up for Belfast’s Scratch my Progress program for support as they have a great sound and are ones to look out for!
Coleraine 4 piece ‘Sleeping Outside’ were the 2nd act of the night, with a similar sound to ‘Hand Models’ if a little less polished. The crowd began to build a bit by this stage and there was some interaction between them and the band. We were treated to solid emo song writing layered with counter-melodic lead lines which was great but could have been driven home with more confidence. These guys will be about for a while and seem to going about things the right way, playing everywhere across the country with a decent catalogue of their own songs.
As our first headliners ‘Lost Love‘ prepared the stage i couldn’t help but feel bad that the football match had taken away what should have been a much larger crowd; nonetheless singer and bass player Guilhem injected some excitement into the audience, and should his admiration for the venue. The band played honest and fun punk rock, had great on stage presence and kept things flowing which made for a solid and enjoyable set. Hopefully the guys come back soon on less busy night for the country and we can show them the appreciation they deserve.
It’s been a while since i seen ‘Empty Lungs’ play in Belfast as i have missed quite a few of my more recent opportunities; so there were some songs i wasn’t as familiar with mixed in with old ones. I’m glad the band has remained prolific with their output and the new songs showcase a maturing sound. The crowd had picked up by the end of the night with dedicated Empty Lungs fans coming to the front of the stage. Highlights of the set were “From Russia with Lack of Love” and “Don’t Get It” but the whole set was tight and energetic; they are evidently a band that working hard and we are seeing the results. Good luck to the guys on tour and make sure to catch them on one of the dates!