When THERE WILL BE FIREWORKS released their self-titled debut album in 2009, it was immediately apparent that a potential for greatness existed in this band’s DNA. The signs are there in the maturity and variety of their ideas, their healthy attitude towards experimentation within the confines of a three/four-minute pop song, and an ability to give their music depth and colour by layering intriguing melodies.
Nevetheless, TWBF could be forgiven for feeling a sense of trepidation about this gig, having been posted absent from all live outings for the past six months. But any fears they may have had of being forgotten about in a city with no shortage of bands to champion are soon dispelled when they step out into a venue rammed to capacity.
The song they open with, South Street, is majestic. Despite being brand new territory for TWBF followers, its mix of dynamic instrumentation and unashamed epicness renders it immediately familiar (incidentally, it’s also the third song they’ve written that references “Christmas”), while the chorus soars through singer Nicky McManus’ impassioned delivery of, “The sky could fall tonight for all I care, on South Street I will be there”.
On the wall behind them, a projector beams reversed video footage of cars travelling along on a motorway, but unlike some other overrated Scottish bands with post-rock leanings I could mention, there are more than enough interesting things happening on stage to hold the audience’s attention.
The beautiful We Sleep Through The Bombs is a case in point, with its twinkling of glockenspiel, some consistently effective trumpet contributions and a striking drum pattern. All the while, McManus somehow manages to keep it together despite an overeager snapper in the front row blinding him every 30 seconds with flash photography.
The smattering of unreleased material they play at The Captain’s Rest showcases the band’s range, from the thrashy discord of River to the upbeat Shock & Awe, which is peppered with keyboard and electric guitar-generated shrills and squalls. Another newie, as yet untitled, is hauntingly quiet and ends fairly abruptly.
With the band’s members now scattered across the country from Oban to Edinburgh working in fields such as teaching and law, the writing and recording of album No.2 has had to fit around their real-world commitments. If this gig proved anything, though, it’s that There Will Be Fireworks are still a class apart from their contemporaries.
I managed to catch the last three songs of indie-folk support band BEAR BONES, who offer more encouraging signs of a very promising future.
Ben Harrison is a terrifically engaging frontman with genuine wit and charm. He also possesses a graceful singing voice which oddly bears little resemblance to his speaking voice. My only grumble would be that having grown fond of the recorded versions of Rose Fever and Oil & Lacquer, the addition of banjo in their live set does nothing whatsoever to enhance their sound.
There Will Be Fireworks – Talking Backwards
Bear Bones – Rose Fever
*You can get a free Bear Bones mp3 called I Scare Easily by signing up to the band’s mailing list.