By Conor O’Neill
The Annie Keating Band photography courtesy of The Sunflower Bar
The Midnight Preachers photography courtesy of Skye Bompas
Boy we got a treat. All the way from New York City and into a rainy night in Belfast, the Annie Keating Band put on one hell of a show. Relaxed and comfortable in The Sunflower bar, all four of them played their hearts out.
But before the headline act came The Midnight Preachers. An Irish band with a ton of passion. Led by not one but two singers, sometimes singing in harmony, at others, balls to the wall with their own distinctive style. Think The Breeders meets old good fashioned blues a’ wailing. Just a threesome, a bassist playing all five strings. Man, she is talented. Beautiful voice, backed by two fantastic players. The guitarist wails all over the shop, switching from guitar to guitar and all making it look easy. The drummer sits in the pocket and rolls and rambles around the kit when needed.
The Midnight Preachers give us about 45 minutes of interesting blues and indie pop before the real attraction comes on.
Swinging, ringing, fun-time blues. Yes, you’ll get your heart broke, yes, you’ll shimmy in your seat, and of course you’ll dance your way to the bathroom. The Annie Keating Band is a lot of things, but one of them is not boring. With three talented session players in tow and a vast amount of soulful tunes you’ll be deaf not to hear the glory of this set.
With a guitar player moving from Telecaster to Gibson Dots, a bass player giving the old upright and electric bass a hell of a bashing and a drummer who can bring the house down thumping four-to-floor using every piece of kit in sight to dropping things down a little with brushes and just mellowing the flow.
What you’ll not lack here is variety.
At times it’s The Rolling Stones, back when they were good, at others, it’s more of an intimate type of vibe. Annie tells a tale between tunes, her voice is somewhat not what we expect from a New Yorker, never mind an American. She has an unassuming quality… until she begins to rock. Then it’s no holds-barred.
The best parts of the night are when the whole band is rocking its tits off. And that’s most of the one hour and 10 minute set. Encore after encore, no one wants them to leave. But alas they do, and off into a black Belfast we head. Our souls quietly and violently lifted.
The Annie Keating Band plays Derry’s Playhouse Theatre on October 9th, 2022
For booking details please visit http://www.anniekeating.com