Sunday, 6 October 2013

Caught Live: Superfood/Wonder Villains

Venue: Voodoo Bar, Belfast

Date: 5th October 2013

To say that the turnout to see well-regarded Birmingham band Superfood in Voodoo this evening is disappointing would be something of an understatement. Excluding the support band, sound technicians and bar staff, there couldn't have been any more than nine people in attendance, oneself included. This is a great pity, as both bands playing are rather decent indeed.

Firstly, Wonder Villains. Having seen them many times over the past few years in many different venues, the group are as tight musically and stage-wise as they have ever been, performing their trademark brand of excitement-pop. All the songs that they have honed over the years as present and correct, from latest single "33", the Heroes referencing "Oh Peter", the Len influenced "Blonde", through to the Pokémon quoting "Ferrari". There is something new this evening however, with Cheylene switching from keyboards to her newly acquired keytar for the last few songs. It's a great performance from the Wonder Villains. Why they still haven't become uber massive yet remains a mystery.

Having supported Peace in Belfast over the summer, it is now time for Superfood to take to the stage for their first headline gig in the city. Despite the low turnout, the 4-piece put on a great performance with their set of Britpop revivalist tunes. The highlights of the set were latest single "Bubbles", whose Blur-aping energy was amped up to the nth degree at Voodoo, and their closing tune, the self-titled "Superfood", an infectious, slightly psychedelic single with an irresistible vocal hook. It was a great 1st headlining set for the group. It's just a pity there weren't more people to witness it.

So why was there so few people there? Here are a few possible reasons:

1. The gig's location
Since the closure of Auntie Annies a few months ago, the main venues for new/upcoming touring artists to play in Belfast has shifted away from the Queen's University area into Belfast city centre, in places like Voodoo and The Oh Yeah Centre. For artists whose main audiences are likely to be at university, this makes it slightly less convenient a venue to get to, meaning there's less chance of people checking out the gig on an impulse.

2. Confusion about the venue.
A few people arrived after the gig finished having mistakenly thought the gig was in The Limelight, as there appeared to have been some confusion on Twitter about the venue.

3. Perhaps it was too early to be playing in Belfast.
To date, Superfood have three songs recorded on their Soundcloud page, and whilst they have received a lot of hits and attention to date, it might not have been extensive enough to excite music fans in Belfast, many of whom are reluctant to even see local bands who have that amount of songs recorded. Perhaps when the band have an album to their name people in Belfast may be more willing to check them out.

But for whatever reason the turnout was so low, I sincerely hope it doesn't put them off playing in Belfast again in the future. After all, I think they are a great band with heaps of potential and a few killer tracks. With their great Britpop inspired sound, they have the potential to be the new Inspiral Carpets or Dodgy. I sincerely hope they don't end up being the next Catch or Viva Brother instead.

If it's any consolation, here's something that hopefully will bring some solace to Superfood. When The 1975 first played in Belfast in December last year, there was no more than thirty people in attendance, if even that. (I should know. I was there). This week, merely 10 months later, the same band played at the Mandela Hall in the same city, and sold out the 900 capacity venue weeks in advance. In Belfast, a touring band can go from 'also playing' to the hottest gig in town in a short period of time. Let's hope that's what Superfood will enjoy the next time they play here.

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