Gig Review: Bellos at the Limelight (5th November, 2012)

BY CONOR HEANEY

Bellos are a new band on the local scene in Northern Ireland. They are three-piece consisting of Luke (bass, vocals), Aidan (guitar) and Jonny (drums). They performed at the Limelight on Monday 5th November, as they opened proceedings for Music Week in Belfast. This was only their fifth gig, and it was good to see a new band play a host of original material. I was impressed by what they had to offer.

Rather than bore you, dear reader, with a song-by-song account of the gig, I think it would be more fitting to describe how Bellos more generally fared.

A key question would be – does their style correspond to their intent? Can the listener really hear – and draw a positive comparison to – some of the influences they mention (Cloud Nothings, Smashing Pumpkins, Pearl Jam)? It would have to be a yes. What struck me from their opening track was the proficiency of drummer Jonny, whose opening certainly caught the attention of the crowd. Luke, who is the lead vocalist and bassist, has the Corgan growl on-point, and he is apt to exhibit it on demand.

Their style is reliant on a particular synthesis between rhythmic guitar, thudding bass, and chaotic drumming. They did though display other talents, and it will be interesting to see to what extent they explore their style in the future. For example, lead singer and bassist Luke is clearly a talented vocalist (much better than Corgan), so I wonder whether or not some softer tracks would allow this some space to shine through. Another point would be that Bellos seemed proficient at instrumental build up and break down. I could certainly see lengthier numbers, incorporating various shifts – a la X.Y.U.

When it comes to a gig though, it is not always about the music – it can be about characte

r, and reacting to crises. In song two, Aidan’s guitar string broke. Determined to marshal on, Bellos plunged into their third track. Unsuccessfully. A crisis moment solidified. Many a new band would have fallen under the pressure, wouldn’t have been able to function correctly after the fact. Not Bellos. They displayed an excellent show of strength and charisma by taking it on the chin, and showed they weren’t afraid to laugh at themselves. After a brief interlude, Aidan joked that it wasn’t the first time he had had problems with a g-string, and Bellos resumed. Soon after, Luke confidently told crowd members to ascend from their seats, and descend towards the stage. In these two assured and bold strokes, Bellos had won the crowd over.

I implore local gig-goers to give Bellos a listen, and to keep an eye out for their future shows.   They are definitely one to watch.

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