Review – REWS + VERSIVE + Molly Sterling
Reviewer & Photos – Stephen Brophy
Venue -Whelans (Upstairs)
When – Friday 23rd March 2018.
REWS are a two piece London/Belfast based Rock band, comprising of Shauna Tohill on Vocals/Guitar (Silhouette, RAMs Pocket Radio) and Collette Williams on Drums/Vocals, both are multi talented and have built up a strong following and critical acclaim through their hard work touring and the release of some excellent new and fresh sounding music.
Opening the show tonight are two bands that I hadn’t had the pleasure of seeing before, Molly Sterling and VERSIVE, and with all three acts on the bill having very different styles it makes for a really interesting a diverse bill.
Molly Sterling is a name to keep an eye on, you may have heard the name before but but just check out what she’s working on now. When the band take to the stage I am already intrigued in how they will sound, alongside Molly on Vocals/Keyboards there is a guitarist, drummer and the thing that really peaked my interest a cello rather than the standard bass, which I automatically thought would make an interesting dynamic and it did. Laura McCabe’s Cello beautifully emphasises and accentuates the vibe of Molly’s vocals, there is a warmth and a depth in the darkness with a sharp and interesting delivery.
The songs are not all about butterflies and sunny meadows, but they are real and gritty and Molly’s vocal style, although it took me a bit of the first track to click with it, is perfect for her songs and subject matter.
Looking forward to seeing them again hopefully soon, very interesting stuff.
Next up were Dublin six piece Alt-Rock band VERSIVE, naturally the first thought was a six piece band is going to be tight on that stage, and they were, but they made space for themselves when needed. How I haven’t seen or heard about these guys before is beyond me, but when I checked out their material on the afternoon of the show I was very pleasantly surprised, and in particular was looking forward to hearing the track “Pretend”, which just grabbed me on first listen, was working my way through their self-titled EP on my way down to the show and gotta say it sounds really good, so what did the guys sound like live ?
It’s not all plain sailing for the guys tonight, with a a bit of a delay in them retrieving their gear to get started and then sadly losing one guitarist 1st song, these things happen in a live environment and the guys just got on with things, so I’ll have to see them again so see the difference with an extra guitarist, but the songs themselves came across really well, Lead Vocalist Kelan is powerful enough without losing anything with screaming, guitars sound great and aren’t just a mush in the mix, the set went really well, problems aside, would just have been nice if the crowd hadn’t retreated to the safe space away from the front of the stage, But not much you can do about that, with varied lineups you often find the audience not engaging as much as perhaps they could, but those that were up and around the fringes seemed to be getting into the sound.
Really interested to see these guys again and also to hear what their new music sounds like. The name is in my head now.
Finally onto tonight’s headliners REWS, people had already started moving closer to the stage before the girls popped their heads up, so the atmosphere was starting to build a little.
The last time I saw REWS in Dublin was in the same venue almost two years ago, and the difference from that night is that Shauna is now playing guitar rather than keyboards, which as definitely added a more raw and harder rock edge to things. It also gives a little more freedom of movement which I think interacts better with the audience, the music the girls play is downright infectious, hard to put a finger on it, but it just gets into your brain and gets you wanting to move. With tracks like “Shake Shake”, “Shine” and “Death Yawn” in the set tonight you know it’s going to be energetic, that goes without saying, but there’s something special about what they do together.
The thing that most impresses me about this band other than their great attitude is that the most powerful instrument on show is actually when both girls are singing, it lifts everything up to another level, it’s like they harness the power from the songs and just push it that bit further, the arrangements on some of the tracks is so impressive. Add in the sheer joy they seem to get from playing their songs and it’s a winner all the way. A smile is rarely from either Shauna or Collette’s faces and they bounce off each other well on stage.
Another really terrific if a little short set, if did fly past far too quickly, the new song sounded great and a little different, was great to get an extra song in at the end too which went some way to quenching the appetite, but I already want to see them play again, so lets hope there are some local dates again soon, Dublin, Belfast, wherever, would certainly be worth the trip to see them again, great show, great night, until next time.
GALLERIES BELOW – Click on any image for larger version/slideshow.