Buzz, buzz, buzz. Don’t worry it’s not an angry bee; but it was the atmosphere at The Bar Below, Folkestone on Saturday. Organised by YaMaHaRaHaRa and run by Below the Radar Events and Promotions four big Kent bands took to the stage for YaMaHaRaHaRa’s comeback gig. Alongside YaMaHaRaHaRa’s highly anticipated return were Atlanica, Left of the Right Side and IRIS. All three bands gave the night more support than a super effective push up bra as it built to its close.
First up to kick out some energy across the Bar Below were Atlantica. As their set began, the lights went dark and a thought-provoking intro sailed across the Bar Below, and then as the drums kicked in the band and helpfully the lights exploded into life. There and Back Again started the bands set and showcased the bands sound. Atlantica also showed their experimental side. I know what you’re thinking, and no there was no hardcore/jazz fusion. There was however a new addition to the bands set up with vocalist Elliot Dixon using a delay pedal. The result was some occasionally funny and often genius vocal effects. Elliot showed his prowess as a front man with a variety of poses and even the occasional crowd invasion, all accompanied by many facial expressions. Carried by a tight band, the set even featured guest vocals from Cairn Livingstone. The set ended with a not yet perfected but entertaining cover of Rise Against’s Prayer of the Refugee.
Following this was Left of the Right Side. They filled the Bar Below with a rock vibe and captured the audience’s attention once more. Left of the Right Side delivered another strong performance as even guitarist Shaun Taylor made it out on to the floor. Despite a few beers vocalist Rich Packman put in an active performance. Despite some vocal issues he carried off the heavy aspects of the tracks, Left of the Right Side continually getting a big cheer from the audience. Whether you were at the front of the stage or giving the bar some love, the bands strong and accomplished playing bounced around the room and didn’t fail to impress. Not to be out done by Atlantica, their set even featured its own addition. YaMaHaRaHaRa’s guitarist had a brief moment of pretend guitar playing on Shaun Taylor’s guitar as he was playing it.
Engineer Records’ IRIS took the role of main support and didn’t disappoint. IRIS filled the stage with a big presence and sent sounds cartwheeling across the room. The band sounded on top form as they delivered a professional set whilst also evidently highly enjoying what they do. Playing tracks from their last release Out of Fiction and some new songs IRIS worked the crowd repeatedly. They even nobly sacrificed their bassist to start a pit, as he jumped into the crowd still playing. The alt. rockers filled the room with energy from the YaMaHaRaHaRa merch clad front man through to the drummer with an impressively versatile face. More interactive than an iPhone swearing at you whilst shooting angry birds at your face, IRIS left their mark on you. Either directly via their bassist or just with big sounds climbing down your ears.
Finally it was time. YaMaHaRaHaRa took to the stage making Below the Radar’s booking manager Andrew Kesby and a room full of people very happy. Equally happy to be back YaMaHaRaHaRa delivered a powerful set. Jokey and friendly between songs, the band then exploded in a frenzy of noise, before ending the song and asking for shots. A bit like a friendly but thirsty volcano might. The crowd reacted well to YaMaHaRaHaRa, enjoying and moving rhythmically, dancing?, to the music. They commented on how nice it was to see old and new faces. Any new faces however might have had a slight shock as front lady Kate Wintie detonated in their ears. The whole band played a kinetic and tight set. YaMaHaRaHaRa went for it so much that at the end of the set they were exhausted. During the final few songs Kate could be seen laying on her keyboard whilst the band’s drummer sat motionless on the floor when the band finished.
YaMaHaRaHaRa ended the night in a big way but were ably supported by the performances before them. As comeback shows go it was pretty big. See all these bands where ever you can! Scroll right down to the bottom for one more photo!