Review and photos by special guest correspondent Adam Harrison
There is no better feeling to a music lover than discovering that next artist you’re going to be obsessed with. That is the best thing about Indie Week. You likely won’t have heard of many of the bands, but you are sure to discover a least a couple new artists to download.
My plan for Saturday night’s portion of Indie Week was to head to Horseshoe Tavern to check out The Mahones, an Irish punk rock band from Kingston. Word is their live shows are a heck of a good time. I figured I might as well go down a bit early and check out a couple of the seven offered bands playing until four o’clock in the morning. I might just find something new… and sure enough I did.
The Suburbians, an alternative band from London, England, had been advertised all over city lampposts and were playing a few shows for Indie Week. I’d never heard them before then, but I’m glad I got a chance to see them. Their anthemic, modern rock and passionate energy really impressed me. They had a lot of lively rhythms and chant-a-long type of songs which are always fun and get a crowd going.
The band consists of the brothers, Mark and Ben Konstantinovic, both on guitar and vocals, the very energetic bass player/backup vocalist Charlie Roberts and the skillful drummer Ben Nyari. At one point the front man, Mark, joined Nyari for an impressive drum off, in which Nyari clearly won. The band drew a decent sized crowd for such a small venue. In fact, they probably had the largest audience of the evening. Their single “Breathe” is definitely worth checking out.
At midnight, The Mahones hit the stage and made their presence known by the sweet, aggressive sounds of Celtic punk. Don’t let the tenderness of the mandolin fool you, these guys are punk through and through, and you’ll know it as soon as lead singer/guitarist, Finny McConnell, opens his mouth. The obvious comparison to make is with the better known Dropkick Murphys or Flogging Molly. But wait a minute; The Mahones have been around even longer. That’s right, their first album dropped in 1992, a whole six years before Dropkick’s debut and eight before Molly’s.
The band line up has seen many members come and go over the years, but currently backing McConnell is Dom “The Bomb” Whelan on drums, Paul “Cuzo” Mancuso on bass, Sean Winter on banjo, mandolin and harmonica and lastly his wife, Katie McConnell, on accordion. All the members lend a hand with backing vocals. Adding Katie to the band was an excellent decision, as she stole the show. Her charismatic energy, cherry red hair and the fact that she plays the accordion make her very hard to take your eyes off of.
The band charged through a number of songs like they were racing for a Guinness. The most notable was their humorous “Drunken Lazy Bastard” – A good way to end their set and my night at Indie Week. If you didn’t make it out to Indie week this year, I suggest you give it a go in 2013. If nothing else, it’s a few enjoyable nights of live music without dropping serious coin and some new music to listen to for the following weeks.