Arriving at a venue early has its advantages. For GIGsoup it was catching the tail end of a rather impressive sound check by The Sundowners. Job done, or so they thought….
Fast forward eight hours and upon taking command of the stage after an electrifying performance by the Red Rum Club, things were not as they had left them; sound was completely off kilter, had the Tarantino Scousers blown the mixing desk gaskets? Cool as cucumbers, the Sundowners sound checked once again, this time in front of a large and mostly sympathetic and patient audience.
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Within the space of ten minutes they were off. A most apt looking and sounding band if there ever was, to evoke the true spirit of the traditional 60’s festival. At first sight, you think it is going to be some sort of Carpenters walk in the park with dual harmony vocalists and guitarists Niamh and Fiona sporting dream catchers on the neck of their guitars, but no, you are in for a nice surprise.
‘Before the Storm’ the opener to the new album and the set, was all psychedelic guitar packing a punch and building up into the mystical ‘Great Beauty’ . There were audience favourites a plenty for the Sundowners fans duly assembled. ‘Into the light’ raced in getting everyone dancing and later on ‘Humming Bird’ and ‘Wishes’ the more poppy songs from the first album.
The Sundowners most certainly have an ethereal feel to them; the percussion section has a most shamanic feel to it, very much in evidence in’ King of the Dawn’. Watching them is a most relaxing and chilled experience, which was heightened by the laid back venue, devoid of stage barriers, allowing for much more audience interaction.
As we moved into ‘Watchful eye’ a group of young upstarts possibly newly released from the Cabbage performance joined us, completely changing the ambience, initially causing annoyance, then amusement as they shoulder barged into prime front row positions before dancing wildly and singing along, reaching a crescendo with the rousing ‘Soul responding’, a song with much shaking of the tambourines, guitar bashing and floppy fringe head banging by guitarist Alfie. I really thought we were headed for a mosh pit situation, a prospect which I found hilarious, given that this was a band more likely to open a stone circle as opposed to a mosh pit. It was later confirmed by Niamh that there has never been a mosh pit at a Sundowners gig! This could have so nearly have been a hometown first.
The final song, ‘Find out for yourself’ was the perfect come down song which was greeted with prolonged and warm applause. With a gig the next day in London, there was to be no hanging about, and off they went, headed towards the Mersey tunnel or in the Sundowner’s world, the kaleidoscope into another world.
This is a band very much on the cusp of greatness, catch them live, they are spell binding.