Elvana // Haggard Cat // Live Review // The Limelight I // Belfast
Times are changing, with schools closures announced and large gatherings restricted to 100 people indoors and 500 outdoors in the Republic of Ireland, it was no surprise when we arrived at The Limelight Belfast, for Elvana’s glorious return that there was literally a handful of bodies inside the venue. Quite shocking to see, but mass hysteria has set in the and the bog rolls are flying off the shelves in the local supermarkets and bands cancel gigs on a daily basis traveling through Europe. This is a crazy time indeed and one of the most challenging for the industry as a whole in modern times. Whilst we as concert-goers are frustrated by this, please support your local artists, international artists in any way you can, buying merch, music directly from the bands where you can to ensure they do not buckle under the weight of the restrictions being placed on them at present. Equally, remember this issue is very real and beyond the music, there are very real consequences for ourselves, our extended families and loved ones with the threat of Covid-19 and whilst we may be frustrated as punters missing out on touring bands, if we get out the other side of this unscathed it will be worth it.
Not tonight though as Elvana and Haggard Cat brave the chaos to grace the stage tonight to bring joy to the masses. Thankfully these guys are mid-tour and ravaging their way across the UK to bring joy to those in need of a little light relief.
First up UK duo Haggard Cat, angst-ridden and undeterred by the numbers in the room they give an absolute balls-out performance to an appreciative crowd. Fuzz laden, heavily distorted, feedback crazed and gnarly as you’ll find they absolutely decimated their performance with complete distribution for what’s going on outside these four walls. Tom Marsh on drums is an absolute beast as he pummels those skins within an inch of their life while Matt Reynolds on vocals and guitar is the epitome of a frontman bringing the magic to a surreal night that screams for quality like this. Shock and Awe people is what was required here tonight and that’s what Haggard Cat brought to the party, lesson learned, sometimes less is more!
8:30 on the button and the disco ball is illuminated, as the ladies and gents of all the way from Disgraceland, Elvana hit the stage! Adorned in a baby blue jumpsuit Elvis Cobain bursts into life as the beautiful ladies dance in unison to the beat and the band gets the party started! What ensues is 90 minutes of absolute chaos wrapped up in a disturbingly beautiful experience if you’ve never had the pleasure! Elvana is a revelation of sorts, twisted, freaky, yet kinda like that thing you wanna hate but secretly you just love! If you take your music seriously, tread with caution cos this night is about letting go of what you think you know and embracing the majestic qualities of the bastard child of Kurt Cobain and Elvis Presley, they say perfection is a journey and not a destination … well, let’s just say in comparison this is like a drive in a rally car with Stevie Wonder as your navigator! It’s pretty freaking cool!
The moves are non-stop as Elvis Cobain brings all the party tricks to the fore, tonight though we have two beautiful ladies on backing vocals which adds a certain Je ne sais quoi to proceedings as they sway, bop and rock-out in unison to the music. Like twins, maybe they are twins? With matching blonde bob haircuts they are a mesmerizing pair who just lift the overall ambiance with their addition. All the band members play their part, Danny Cobain slaying it on guitar, with his quirky Weezer-esque style, Rob Novoselic looking depressed as fcuk and Bobby Grohl slamming it on the skins. These guys all know how to play their part and musically re-create the sound, vibe, and atmosphere of a 90’s Elvis infused grunge-fest that you can’t help but love. The soundtrack is immense, the energy and aggression of Nirvana’s back catalog sounds glorious in 2020 and with Elvis’ biggest hits fused in-between you’ll find it hard not find yourself giving in to its majesty.
For me personally the meshing of ‘A little Less Conversation / Smells Like Teen Spirit’ or as the guys call it ‘A Little Less Teen Spirit’ is one of my highlights as this is where the crowd really lose their minds, but just hearing the beauty of Nirvana’s soundtrack once again in the live setting so perfectly executed is what this night is all about, and the ability to lay to rest that old adage that Grunge killed Metal in the ’90s. If fact it made it bigger, stronger and better than ever and helped its evolution into the monster that it is today.
Highly recommended, if you ever get the opportunity to catch Elvana live, it is an absolute must. You will not regret it.