Live review: Fatherson, Pronto Mama, Sunshine Social at QMU, 2/11/2013

_MG_0041There’s a sense of occasion in the air as Fatherson hit up the QMU for their biggest headline show to date, the four-piece (plus live cellist Elaine Glass) are touring workaholics and tonight is the culmination of all the work put in thus far.

Before the celebrations begin, Sunshine Social line the stage to deliver some uninspiring nu-folk tunes.

It’s inoffensive and pleasant enough to the ears, but it’s hard to shake the feeling you’re watching some pals jam on a stage too big for them, that they are not yet quite prepared for.

Pronto Mama fair a little better, their topsy turvy song structures and completely bonkers instrumental set up are a far more captivating affair, but being exposed to them with no prior warning is like a kick to the face, especially after a Mumford and Sons-esque band.

They are at their most effective when one genre is allowed to breathe long enough to climax and explode into something your head can wrap itself around just long enough before it’s taken away again, only to become some reggae-rhythmed brass-heavy breakdown.

It’s hard not to feel a little dazed and confused by the end of their performance, but it’s also hard to deny they’re doing something that no one else is.

_MG_0014By comparison to the openers, Fatherson are confident and seasoned veterans of the touring circuit.

Not only that, but their professionalism shows by the bucketload – they are visually over the moon to be headlining their biggest show to date, but they never miss a beat, they keep the between song banter classy, and the thank yous are numerous and constant.

They allow themselves some rockstar moments, such as allowing the crowd to take the lead with the vocals on some of the more well known tracks such as ‘Hometown’.

Elsewhere, forthcoming album opener ‘I Am An Island’ provides a hush before a full-band explosion, while ‘Cat Stevens’ (so named because it used to be that if you Google the band name you would find the Cat Stevens song ‘Father and Son’ instead) is one of the more impressive vocal deliveries from Ross Leighton.

The sound reaches My Bloody Valentine-levels of loud at points, which makes the heavier passages in Fatherson’s set sound akin to a fully blown rock show, with certain patches of the crowd reacting appropriately with pogoing and pitting.

Rounding the night off with an explosion of confetti, it feels like Fatherson are at the end of their beginnings, with their debut album out next year, and their live performances getting get better and better, surely this upward trajectory will long continue.

more photos

Words: Scott Wilson
Photos: Emily Wylde

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