Otherkin at the Thomas House – Review
2015 has been a good year for grunge pop Dubliners, Otherkin. Having headlined several highly prolific gigs in venues such as The Workman’s Club and a sold out show in The Grand Social, the band surely started the year with a bang. Not being content to stop there, the boys released the explosive ‘AY AY’ to local and international acclaim. Now, they play an intimate headline slot in the tiny punk venue that is The Thomas House.
With no support, the band hop onstage in a typical rock ’n’ roll fashion at a late ten o’clock start. An aggressive drum intro and a powerful “ONE-TWO-THREE-FOUR” throws us into ’20 to 11’, a new track which exhibits explosive energy from the get go. Crunchy guitars and snappy melodies lure us in before Luke Reilly’s raw vocals take it away. The lyrics themselves are lost somewhat in an ocean of noise, but the catchy melodies just about cut through. After a brief hello from the frontman, the band go head first into ‘Feel It’, which boasts an exceptionally catchy coda and red hot guitar leads from Conor Wynne.
The lads then turn it up a notch in the shape of earlier track, ‘Lockjaw’. Differing from the opening tunes, this one has more of a laid back rhythm and typically indie sound. The irresistible hi-fi tone of the main riff blends perfectly with the hard hitting and swaying rhythm section, resulting in a great drive. Having shifted in style in favour of a heavier, more riff driven grunge sound in recent times, it’s a nice change to the first two tracks. ‘Tampered’ is next in line, which sees the band become more visibly comfortable in their performance, with Reilly frequently hopping around and off the stage, swapping places with Wynne for a few moments in the spotlight during some exceptional leads and solos.
The vibe once again switches to a more laid back and bouncy feel with ’89’, the band’s debut single. The delightfully jangly tone of the intro with the push/pull feel of the drums is lapped up by the crowd and has some of them singing along to the catchy vocal line. Reilly’s vocals are at his best here, with an impressive ending of “Oooh’s and Aaah’s” over the piercing guitars. This leads straight into the recent single, ‘AY AY’. The short yet brilliant performance is a highlight of the set, with the infectious hooks and riffs being chanted back by everyone in attendance.
After the curiously named new track, ‘4 20 Donut King’, we’re told that ‘So So’ is to be the last song of the night. The ferocious guitar riffs in this one are huge and the band ensure they finish on a flourish of fuzzy guitars and crashing drums. With no encore, the band leave us a tad perplexed as to why we didn’t get any more.
Otherkin deliver a very strong thirty minutes of mostly new music, which shows great promise for any future releases. However, with great tunes like ‘SLN’ or ‘Islands’ being left off the set, this exceptional performance is cut tragically short and leaves us yearning for more. The band impress with their stage presence and improved new sound, but halt what was heading towards a perfect set in the process. Still, the fact that the only fault is the shortness of the set is evidence that Otherkin are well on their way to becoming an unstoppable force. Oh, and they dress bloody fantastically to boot.
Review by Finn O’Reilly