Album Release Party
The Pavillion Bar welcomed back Northern Ireland’s prodigal sons Blackwater Conspiracy following their successful Download and Ramblin’ Man Festival slots.
I spoke with frontman Phil Conalane before the gig, and we talked about the journey the band has been on thus far, and with the band’s reputation built on their live shows, I was looking forward to tonight’s performance in front of an enthusiastic home crowd. The evening had been dubbed as an album release party for Shootin’ The Breeze, but in actual fact it was more of a welcome home for the guys, their first opportunity to play a local venue. And with support from Safire and Phil McCarroll, tonight was all about the home-grown talent.
The evening kicked off with Payola frontman Phil McCarroll on acoustic doing a few of his solo numbers and old Payola favourites. He was joined on stage by fellow band members Alan Callaghan and Nicky Conway, performing old classic numbers and fitting tributes to both Rik Parfitt of Status Quo and Chris Cornell of Soundgarden and Audioslave. A laid back start to the evening but that was all about to change.
Safire were about to crank it up. A female-fronted Rock and Metal outfit with a strong local following kicked off and immediately demanded everyone’s attention. The guys had the place rocking in no time at all; slick guitar playing from Tom Torrens and the powerhouse vocals of Saffron Gorman ensured an attention grabbing set. A band with a classic ’80s underlying sound with a more contemporary twist, highlights for me were ‘We Believe in Miracles’ and ‘Sunshine,’ both showcasing Saffron’s stunning vocals. The latter with a very Pop Rock chorus definitely showcases the band’s song writing qualities, and for sure are one to watch for the future.
Tonight though was about the return of one of Northern Ireland’s hottest properties right now, Blackwater Conspiracy. As the boys took to the stage, we had a fired-up crowd surging forward to embrace these lads wholeheartedly. Kicking it off with ‘Anything Goes,’ the stage lit up as they ripped their way across this fine opening track that had the crowd screaming for more. ‘Waiting on Hollywood,’ with some slick work on the keys from Kevy Brennan, and ‘Decadent Highway’ followed, as the crowd drew ever more closer in on the stage.
The up-tempo ‘The Monday Club’ carries on the festivities as we start drawing in the Rock chicks one by one to the dance floor just in front of the boys. Fan favourite ‘Shoot the Breeze’ has everyone singing along and will be a long-time live highlight for years to come. The guys then treated us to a new song, ‘In Another Lifetime,’ a love song of sorts, which was followed by the emotive ‘Hanging Tree.’
One of the night’s highlights was ‘85 Rockstar.’ The fast tempo track lit the room up, and as I looked around me the whole dance floor was filled with beautiful women shaking their little booties. ’Twas a fine sight to see, and as I looked at the lads on stage I must admit I thought to myself, “Could be worse ways to make a living.”
The night was wrapped up with Joe Cocker’s version of The Beatles classic ‘With a Little Help From My Friends,’ and to rapturous applause the night was over all too soon. If you have yet to check out the album you can read our review here: http://rocknloadmag.com/album-review/blackwater-conspiracy-shootin-the-breeze-album-review/.
The album is one thing, but Blackwater Conspiracy live is another. You have to catch these guys in the flesh to truly appreciate the quality within. Phil Conalane’s vocals will give you goosebumps, his raspy quality and vocal range have to be admired. Mix that with Brian Mallon’s lazy but fluid style on the guitar making it all look too easy. Fuse that with Kevy Brennan on keys, and the reliable duo of Kie McMurray on bass and Fionn O’Hagain on drums; you’ll soon realise these boys are something pretty special.
‘Waiting on Hollywood’
‘The Monday Club’
‘Shoot the Breeze’
‘Under Your Skin’
‘In Another Lifetime’
‘Roll the Dice’
‘Penny for Your Dirty Mind’
‘85 Rockstar’ / ‘Get It Hot’
‘With a Little Help From My Friends’