Little Comets at the Academy – Review
Little Comets at the Academy – February 9th 2014
Gracing a Dublin stage for the second time in little under a year, Little Comets were most likely as confused to find themselves back in the basement of the Academy 2 as I was. The gig was advertised as an upgrade to the Academy main venue for their return, but as we filed in last night, we were quickly ushered downstairs to the smaller room. The downgrade was a reflection on ticket sales that were surprisingly low for a band that proved their worth and need for a larger stage for the second time in Dublin last night.
Opening for the band were New City Kings, an ‘alternative’ foursome from Essex with a sound bigger than the Academy lent itself to. Filled to the brim with fiery choruses, catchy vocals and crowd participation, New City Kings fill the requirements of your standard alt band but refuse to confine themselves to the stereotype. They catch you off guard with a drummer whose skill base far exceeds the needs of any standard band – a talent they thankfully show off with a drum solo midway through the set – and profoundly intricate lead guitar. Neither is what you’d expect or think necessary for a band like this but it sets them above the bar in the genre. A notably compelling band to watch, they have far to go. A single song lets them down as it falls into the pits of stereotypical indie writings but it’s not enough to mar the set.
Little Comets are endearing from the moment they saunter on stage. There’s no air of grace, no big deal – they’re here to enjoy themselves and play music and that’s it. Even a positive response from the crowd seems to astound lead singer, Robert Coles. He’s greeted with a devoted group of bandies mid-crowd who echo his intricate lyrics back to him without mistake, as he tries to hold back smiles throughout the set. Shorts snippets of banter and thanks reaffirm that this band are humble as it comes and it’s hard not to be a little infatuated post-gig.
The set is filled with snippets of their new EP (“The Gentle” EP) and the band seem slightly nervous as to how it is going to go down. Even though it’s a small venue, they’re hit with a rapturous response from a crowd filled with die-hard (and unusually tall) fans. Even I got a little engrossed by the new tunes, and ended up leaving with a copy of the new EP tucked under my arm. The bulk of their set is made up of tunes from their second album “Life is Elsewhere”, an LP packed full of crowd pleasers that they release one after the other tonight. A quick lull in the set to swap instruments is filled with a joy-filled serenade of Happy Birthday to their bassist Matt from an overwhelming crowd. During “Joanna”, Robert’s vocals can barely be heard over the crowd and as they end on “The Dancing Song”, the room evolves into a celebration rather than a concert.
Leaving my second Little Comets show, I was reminded that Little Comets are an experience rather than a gig. Though they record wonderfully for an album, there’s nothing better than seeing them live. Whether that’s down to how they play or how endearing and engaging they are during and post-gig – as they loiter around at the merchandise stand, meeting and greeting the crowd – who knows. Regardless, I still hold my belief that these English boys deserve a stage much bigger than the basement floor of the Academy.
Review by Laur Ryan