Stereo War Favourites

They come from Derry, they're headed for the stars

Auntie Annie’s isn’t always this packed on a week night. Maybe it's the good weather. Whatever the reason, with three local bands on show the family and friends have come out in force. Little do they know that tonight's will go down as one of the best Auntie Annie's gigs in a long, long time.

The South Pole open the show. According to the rebranded packets of polo mints that they dish out to audience members before taking the stage, it’s their first gig and it shows. Their singer attempts to emulate Joy Division’s Ian Curtis, but lacks the stage presence and guttural emotional drive that set his hero apart. It’s all a little loose, unlike the stylish branding. Better luck next time.

Second on the bill is Stereo War Favourites, a flamboyant sextet featuring three guitarists, a bass player, a female drummer and the most charismatic singer on the scene in Emmett Colton - a cross between Cedric Bixler, Zack de la Rocha and Jim Morrison - writhing and tugging at his t-shirt as he screeches out the high notes, punching the air as he scatterguns lyrics left, right and centre.

Stereo War Favourites are all unorthodox chords, intricate refrains, big beats and larynx damaging choruses. You might think that three guitars would make for a dirge, but all six members play separate parts and combine to create a sound unlike any other on the current scene.

Gregory McGeadyWhere The South Pole fail because of a lack of confidence and - at least it seems to me - practice, Stereo War Favourites are tight and self-assured. This being only their second gig, the cohesion is remarkable. According to their MySpace page they had a plan - to write, practice and record behind closed doors until the time was right, and it’s clear that their patience and persistence have paid off.

Opening with ‘Theatre of Thieves’, the boys and girl flood the venue with a river of sound that never for a second threatens to trickle to a halt.

Drummer Grace Leacock beats all of her male rivals to a pulp, hammering out rhythms one second, tinkling cymbals the next; whilst guitarists Gregs, Dermot and Snoopy all provide styles of their own, at times reminiscient of The Strokes' Albert Hammond Jr, but infinitely more aggressive.

Stereo War Favourites should be commended for being themselves. They're a little bit cocky, a little bit loud, a whole lot of Rosie, and that's what makes them so good. If any band on the current scene is going follow the likes of Duke Special and Snow Patrol into the international charts, it's not the usual suspects, it's Stereo War Favourites.

There are three acts on the bill tonight, but I can't remember the third. I have to go lie down. Stereo War Favourites will do that to you.

Lee Henry

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