Friday, April 8, 2011

Bell x1, April 7th, Vicar Street, Dublin

I Love Bell x1. My wife loves them even more, this may have something to do with Paul Noonans witty and sometimes heartfelt lyrics as well as his attractive charm. She says it's just cause of the music though. I remember seeing Bell x1 as their former guise 'Juniper' back in my teens. I thought I was so cool as I stood in Norris' pub in Celbridge as my mate Bago sang along to all the words and particularly emphasising the movement of his mouth, presumably to let everyone know he knew them. He infact did know them, especially their lead singer Damien. His Dad even got a mention in their ep Manna which I thought was so cool at the time. I still do; his dad was always good to me. I also think that lad Damien is still wearing the same jumper he used to wear back then. They used to sing this song called 'Insane'; I thought it was one of the best songs ever written!
For some reason my liking of them wore off a little when Juniper broke up and I wasn't too enamored with the newly formed Bell x1. 'Neither am I' disappointed me when it came out, but I didn't infact listen to it. I can't make sense of that one. How can you not like an album you haven't listened to? (Mind you I haven't listened to Pinks new album and I'm fairly sure I dislike it). I'm not entirely sure where my love rejuvenated for them. It did though, and it's been solid ever since.
Myself and Jane have been to a few Bell x1 concerts since we met. I think going to gigs with Jane is one of my favourite things. When Jane willingly came to Manchester and London to see Pearl Jam a couple of years ago I knew we'd last forever! Last nights show was a great one. Their new album is only out a week but it didn't quench the enjoyment whatsoever that we weren't as familiar with the new songs as we are with their staples. Infact some of their new tunes where my favourite's of the night.
They started off with the slow brooding Hey Anna Lena and the token witty first single 'Velcro' written about getting stuck in a field after playing Austin City Limits festival. My First Born For a Song next, a good tune, one that I would have swopped for perhaps 'How Your Heart Is Wired' but I don't make the setlist.
'Bad Skin Day' brought a huge cheer from the crowd followed by the 10 seconds of 'shhh', 'shhh'. It was a lovely rendition to a cracking tune. 'Built to Last' is a song that could have nestled well on a Dave Geraghty solo album but I'm glad it's on the new Bell x1 album; hopefully it'll remind people that he is a fantastic artist in his own right. A cracking tune. The one two punch of 'Rocky' and 'Alphabet Soup' were great singalongs. Especially Rocky. It got slightly overplayed at the time but it's still one of their best tunes. That change where it enters 'The sun gives light, and it takes it away, and like all the greats we'll burn out someday. I want to be that star'; is one of their very finer moments.
'I'll see Your Heart' made all the ladies swoon, including my feminine side, another great tune followed by possibly my favourite of their new album so far; 'Nightwatchmen'. 'The Great Defector' was another great singalong, followed by the crunching 'Tongue' which for some reason despite my inner love of rock I can take or leave. The funky '4 minute mile' which Paul said they decided should actually be called 'I believe I can't fly' closed the first set before they presumably got a cup of tea for five minutes and a fig roll before coming back for the encore.
The first song was just the three lads and they played the heartbreaking 'Trailing Skirts of God' a song about leaving faith behind. It got a couple of muppets cheering at the parts about leaving faith but I think most of the crowd realised that it's a huge statement to make that you're bidding adieu to God. Mind you, I'd probably say goodbye to the God he was presented with. Nothing like the God I know! Flame was another crowd favourite with great audience participation, followed by the Fianna Fail bashing 'Sugar Rush' another belter from the new album. The show finished with some heartfelt thanks from Paul and one of their finest moments; 'Eve, the apple of my eye'.
Another great show, helped by our cracking seats front row on the balcony. If you don't have their new album it's well worth getting, and they're an independent Irish band which is always good to support! Here's the setlist...

Hey Anna Lena
My First Born For A Song
Bad Skin Day
Built to Last
Rocky Took a Lover
Alphabet Soup
I'll See Your Heart and I Raise You Mine
The Great Defector
4 Minute Mile

Trailing Skirts of God
Sugar High
Eve, the Apple of My Eye

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