By Ally Rosbotham – Arts and Entertainment Editor
Last Sunday, Limelight 1 had the pleasure of having indie hip-hop five piece “Easy Life” grace its stage, as they made their Belfast debut on the penultimate night of their “Life’s a Beach” tour. With gigs only recently being given the go ahead under new COVID-19 restrictions, the tension and excitement felt by the crowd was only amplified by the sheer joy felt in the room for the fact we were all gathered to hear live music once again.
Hailing from Kildare, Alternative Hip-Hop/Pop duo “Tebi Rex” kicked off the proceedings for the evening. Right from the offset it’s clear the pair are incredibly talented, with infectious tunes like “I Never Get Off The Bus” allowing them to engage well with the energetic crowd, in anticipation for what was coming up next. The crowd eagerly awaited the five piece’s stage presence, and it is safe to say they certainly delivered when the time came. Opening with their first single “Pockets”, the whole room came alive as the crowd sang back every word. This kick continued on as the band powered through sing along crowd favourites and singles such as “have a great day”, “earth” and “dead celebrities”.
Although tightly packed onto the stage in Limelight 1, the band certainly had no problems in filling it, in terms of both set up and stage presence. At the back of the stage were two upright light up fixtures of the bands name, with some cut out waves decorating the front of the risers for the bands drums and keyboard. Alongside the five lads, a brass duo joined them onstage intermittently for their more jazz inspired tunes, and it really was a pleasure to behold such incredibly talented musicians grace our music venues once again. The band continued on, with a good mix of tunes that were well paced, featuring some more serious moments from their discography like “temporary love” parts 1 and 2, contrasting well with “daydreams” and “ojpl”. Easy life certainly had no bother keeping the crowd engaged throughout the middle section of the show, with all of these tunes being received well by the energetic Belfast audience.
The youthful excitement and harmlessly rowdy energy of the band was contagious. Belfast gigs always have a certain level of boisterousness to them, and it seems the energy easy life brought to Limelight was a perfect match for the crowd. It felt like no extra encouragement was needed to crank what was already a great gig up to eleven, until the opening chords of “skeletons”, from their debut album were played. The crowd was already singing their hearts out to the first few lines, until a break in the song leads the audience to find front man Murray Matravers standing on top of the long bar towards the back of Limelight 1. Riling the crowd up he states “I want you to go f**king mental, Belfast are you f**king with me?”. He then crowd surfs back over towards the stage, still singing in his signature effortlessly cool and laidback fashion. After making it back onto the stage in one piece, the crowd prepares for the chorus as a mosh pit opens up, letting off some of the pent up energy that has been filling the room all evening.
The energy in the crowd stays high for the remainder of the setlist, with any opportunity arising for a mosh pit and another round of crowd surfing; this time taken on by drummer Oliver Cassidy; being grabbed at with both hands much to the security’s dismay. They leave the crowd with another debut album single “ocean view”, which was followed shortly by the usual “one more tune” chant before the band made a reappearance for their three song encore. Included in it is “nightmares”, a fan favourite which had everyone singing along together for one last time that evening. They finish out the 25 song strong setlist with “music to walk home to”, a The Streets-esque stream of consciousness put to one of the most infectious and upbeat instrumentals you’ll hear all week. Matravers ad-libs, using it as an opportunity to sing the praises of each musician on stage before they depart for good.
Although sad to see them go, the atmosphere afterwards was fantastic with all leaving on a happy note. On Sunday evening, i entered Limelight a casual listener of Easy Life, but it’s safe to say I now call myself a fan. Fingers crossed this isn’t the first and last time the band hit the music venues of Belfast, as I can assure you I’ll be there for round two.