Live Review: Niall James Holohan – London

Niall James Holohan

Niall James HolohanCamden Barfly, 18th April 2015

Words: Nick Jacques

The venue for tonight’s gig is the Camden Barfly. It must be at least 5/6 years since I last stumbled into this place. It still has that same grimy décor which has lingered for so long yet it has always boasted a certain disarming charm which I find appealing and that’s probably the reason why it still continues to attract the punters to its doors.

Tonight there are 3 acts on the bill – the main ticket is for Niall James Holohan. An Irish singer/songwriter who is only playing his 2nd solo show since being the rhythm guitarist and frontman for the band Readers’ Wives for a number of years. He’s recently relocated to London and is wanting to make a strong and confident impression here as the headliner.

First up is South London threesome Sleaze. Despite a lack of audience, this trio made an immediate and positive impression on me. They launched straight into their set with buzzing clash-esque riffs and brooding bass lines which gave off a classic Greenday vibe and the rhythm and the grooves that came from the drummer were hit with a clean precision too. Their set weaved in and out of early brit-pop – sounding like Blur/Elastica with a bit of grit and off-kilter humour thrown into the mix which seemed to work well for the band. Their next gig at the Brixton Windmill and I think it would be worth the ticket admittance.

Next up is a completely different outfit altogether. Alias the Kid are a 5 piece indie/rock band with attitude from Manchester (although the lead singer jokingly said they’re from London, when obviously they weren’t) At first sight, the band look like a group of individuals from different tribute acts! I really thought the bassist was Mani from Primal Scream – I still think it was! The lead guitarist looked like he was taking time out from BRMC (Black Rebel Motorcycle Club) & the drummer and rhythm guitarist both resembled The Edge from U2 – Random! But these guys were anything but out of sync or tune or from other tribute acts. They played a tight ballsy set of Oasis infused rock to a now packed venue, which no doubt Alan Mcgee (their record label boss) has been so impressed by. Their banter with the crowd and themselves showed them in a good light and this band are only heading in one direction – UP! It was great to hear to a band playing with such verve and vigour whilst watching the crowd enjoy their slick guitar licks.

Then the main act Niall James Holohan arrived on stage to the packed and anticipated crowd. Despite this being only his second solo show – it felt like he was a seasoned solo warrior – with a confident backing band to boot. He led the band effortlessly and had a strong stage presence which served him well. His vocal range was expansive and incorporated various genres ranging from rock to hip-hop. Guest appearances from rappers, duet singers and dancers made for a stimulating and enjoyable performance for the punters. A passionate cover of Rage Against The Machine’s Sleep Now In The Fire made for engrossing viewing and Niall’s interactions with the crowd really made them feel like they were part of the performance too, particularly when he asked the crowd to crouch down in unison to join in with one of his songs. A thoroughly pleasing experience. This eye-catching performance will only serve to make Niall improve his trade and recruit many more followers along the way. A triumph for Niall James Holohan and his band – let’s hope it continues!

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