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Sunset Sons w/ Louis Berry @ Limelight, Belfast

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“I’ve only got five strings now, but I’ll play on anyway!” Liverpool born support act Louis Berry is nothing if not enthusiastic, with the guitar malfunction that occurred only two songs into his set seemingly only spurring him on to deliver an even more frantic than usual perfromance. Berry’s snotty delivery is a true asset when delivering the sort of hard-nosed, retro rock n roll that he and his three band mates specialise in, and the Scouser’s throbbing energy sparked a warm response from the already impressively large Limelight 2 crowd, as he tore through numbers such as ‘.45’ and ’25 Reasons.’ However, as fellow 60s throwback Jake Bugg discovered after his sophomore record, there are only so many ‘Maggie’s Farm’ sound-alikes an audience can take. “I was going to play a slow one there, but after making you wait with me changing my guitar, here’s something fast!” he announced, before launching into another three chord shuffle as the crowd noticeably lost interest. It’s a shame, as something slower may have introduced some much needed light to go with the set’s ample shade.


Sunsets Sons frontman Ross William is a dead ringer for Caleb Followill, from his beard and pony tail combo to his emotive warble, and opener ‘Know My Name’ is an appropriately poppy arena rocker that Kings of Leon would be proud to call their own. Chest beatingly earnest rawk is only one of Sunset Sons various guises, and the remarkable large Belfast crowd were treated to a remarkably eclectic setlist from the Anglo-Australian quartet. Even at this early stage of their career, the band are clearly used to working an audience, with Williams in particular at the forefront: stepping out from behind his keyboard to reach into the crowd and initiating fan clap-alongs from the start. As a frontman, he’s versatile too, being able to substitute his throaty holler for a smooth RnB croon or even Ed Sheeran-stle rap-singing as the sing fits. EP title track ‘She Wants’ even gave him an opportunity to show off his tambourine shaking, shape throwing qualities to a delighted reaction, although the song’s three minute running time means that the funky number was over before the band cut truly hit their groove.


At one stage a member of the largely young professional crowd requests they reprise their cover of Alt J’s Breezeblocks, eliciting a good humoured response the band. The fact that the group can just as easily win comparison’s to Mercury Prize winning British indie darlings as America stadium rock behemoths says an awful lot about their sound: each of their EPs have contained earnest anthemic rock and quirky indie of the Everything Everything school, carefully picking out the most universal elements of both disciplines. The genuinely electrified Belfast crowdares seemingly without a single concern of how ‘organic’ Sunset Sons influences are, and by the time the band have run through singalong favourites ‘Come Easy’, ‘On The Road’ and ‘Bring The Bright Lights’, they are as shocked with the fans’ level of appreciation as the crowd are with their performance. Heaven knows what Sunset Sons’ forthcoming long player will sound like, but this audience at least should seemingly adore it. Caolan Coleman

Photos by Sara Marsden