Otherkin at Whelan’s – Review


A little over two years ago, Otherkin played this same venue to a modest crowd at the Ones To Watch festival. While they certainly showed promise then, it’s incredible to see the progress they’ve made in those two short years. Airplay and ads have certainly helped to spread the good word of Otherkin but it’s still incredible to see a band who have yet to release their debut album pack Whelan’s, quite literally, to the rafters. But from the moment the air raid sirens beckon them on stage it’s clear that the band have earned the right to play to this sizable crowd.

Frontman Luke Reilly has become a lot more confident and knows just how to whip the crowd into a frenzy. It’s not long before moshing breaks out and Reilly discards his shirt – an act that should be cliche at this stage but he just about gets away with it. In fact, there are a whole load of cliche rock n roll moments thrown in over the course of the evening; from crowd surfing to a band initiated stage invasion towards the end of the night.

And yet it all works. Probably because there aren’t many exciting bands around at the moment that are trying to do this stuff and so it’s become fun again. Just good old fashioned guitar, bass and drums melding together to make a delightfully chaotic noise – and it is quite delightful.

Songs such as ‘Ay Ay’, ‘I Was Born’ and ‘White Heat’ take on a new dimension when injected with the raw power of Otherkin’s live performance. The set is short and tight, with every member of the band on the top of their game. Rob Summon’s drums have just the right amount of heft but never overpower the tunes and he’s amply complimented by David Anthony’s rumbling bass. Reilly and Conor Wynne trade screeching guitar licks all night, never missing a beat – even when Reilly decides to go for a surf through the crowd mid-solo.

Noisy ran a recent piece about indie landfill which poked a bit of fun at some of the rubbish that emerged in the mid-2000’s but Otherkin seem to have sifted through the all of the dirge and melded some of the best elements of that era. Part Strokes, Arctic Monkeys and even Maximo Park in their sound, an air of the edge of early Libertines gigs in their showmanship and just a twang of The Hives’ Pelle Almqvist in Reilly’s vocal delivery. It’s a potent alchemy that is surely going to see Otherkin go on to even bigger and better things.

If they already have big crowds hanging on their every move and bellowing back song lyrics on the back of a few EP releases, just imagine what they’ll be able to do with an album or two under their belt.

Otherkin are on the up and there’s every chance that this could be viewed in years to come as one of those ‘I was there’ gigs.


Mark O'Brien

comments to this article