Redwoods at The Grand Social – Review


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redwoods-grand-socialRedwoods at The Grand Social – June 11th

“Midweek gigs featuring unsigned bands can often be a depressing affair. Poor promotion, venues half-arsing it, poor attendances and, with work in the morning, those that do show up seeming intent on having a quiet night can result in often decent-quality bands not getting much of an opportunity to show what they can do. However, Redwoods’ gig in The Grand Social last week wound up a far more engaging affair than many of these events tend to be.

By way of introduction, Redwoods are a band out of Greystones, Co. Wicklow. Though young, they have been on the scene for a few years now and with a few Bandcamp-issued singles under their belt have demonstrated strong talent for producing an extremely listenable, mild-mannered sort of pop-rock. Their gig last week precedes the release of their debut album, currently being recorded, and support on the night came from The Bonzai Pipeline and the intriguing Censor the Beast.

For the headliners, drummer Tristan Gresty impressively played the entire gig with only one arm, a result of recent surgery on his right wrist. It’s a ballsy move to go ahead with the gig, but the result is an incredibly cohesive performance from the battreur, playing with the dud arm clenched in a fist akin to a pre-scrum Cian Healy, and the remaining limbs give a lesson in how simply hitting the skins hard energise an entire group’s performance. Through either extensive practice for this gig, or an incredible improvisation talent, Tristan executes the set without a single noticeable effect on the band’s performance, aside from stealing the eye for a greater proportion of it.

The songs themselves are a difficult-to-describe pop-rock sort of affair, featuring jangly Strat and hollowbody guitars for the verses, thin leads and a catchy set of harmonised vocals from the choruses. It could not be more middle-of-the-road, but Redwoods retain a recognisable charm that doesn’t outstay its welcome over the hour-long set. My usual, “Why do bands insist on playing terrible quiet numbers?” qualm isn’t even applicable here, with the quiet tracks still retaining an enjoyable ambience, rather than leaving the listener pleading for the next upbeat number.

Without blowing any minds, redefining genres or provoking riots, the take-home message from the evening is the discovery another band to keep an eye out for in future. Though they are unlikely to be the soundtrack to your best or worst moments, they still remain a pleasant and satisfying act to watch for an hour or so any evening.

Singles ‘Me and My Mates’ and ‘Don’t Take Me Down’ and E.P. ‘Nowhere to Hide’, are available to download free-of-charge on Bandcamp.

Watch the brand new video for ‘Look At Your Life’ below.

Review by Conor Cosgrave


Lucy Ivan

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