So I was wrong. All this time if you had asked me I would have said The Hard Ground were an Indie band. Then I saw then live, amazingly for the first time since I’ve been following them for the past couple of years. And the Cork band are Rock n Roll through and through. How could I have made such a mistake?
Throughout my reviews of the collective EP’s that make up their recently released “Triptych” album I had commented on the 70’s style rock guitar that featured on several songs. And yet in mind they remained an Indie band. Wrong, wrong, wrong.
Watching them rip up the stage in Upstairs Oliver Plunkett I was shown just how wrong. The live performance gave guitarist Hugh Dillon an opportunity to shine and cut loose some sweet guitar riffs and solos. Pat Carey’s vocal’s were even more aggressive and gravely than on the album clearly relishing being on stage and the interaction with the bass and lead guitars. Marlene has evolved in my eyes into the Irish Stevie Nicks. At once saccharine and then she hits that note in a particular song, you know the one, that note becomes a howl that rips your heart in two with the emotion it contains. And while Nicks had her chokers and velvet Marlene has her earrings. It was a boisterous affair that was warmed up by the talented Tizzy McNamara as support. But it shows the talent of the band and the appreciation of the crowd when Marlene and Pat were left alone on stage for ‘Short Song’. You could hear a pin drop. They had the crowd in the palm of their hand. We were merely a malleable thing to be coaxed and coerced into whatever the band wanted us to be. And we were happy about that.
The Cork date (May 28th) was part of a national tour the band had undertaken to officially launch the album “Triptych”. They were plenty warmed up for it and yet when they came on stage and thanked us all for coming Marlene Enright commented that they were overwhelmed by the size of the home crowd who had come out to support them. And that’s another thing. The band members are just so nice, humble and clearly love making music together and sharing it with us. All ingredients that add up to a great night out.
We came down from Limerick to see the gig. Afterwards as we walked back to the car the other half said to me that it was the best gig I had brought him to. “Flawless”, he added. And he is fussy about what he likes. So just to give you an idea how good, it was worth the drive down and back up to see The Hard Ground put on what was for me was the best gig of 2015 to date. The band are taking a small break for the moment from gigging but expect new single “Two By Two” in the near future to sate your appetites as they commence recording the video in the next few weeks.
Follow The Hrad ground on Facebook, Twitter and Bandcamp as well as their webpage http://www.thehardground.com/
Here is the current single ‘Pucker’