LIVE REVIEW: The Raglans, Kosoti, Street Party in Soho @ The Cluny, Newcastle (22.03.15) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Dublin rockers the Raglans landed in Newcastle to blow the lid off the Cluny with a barnstorming show supported by class local acts Kosoti and Street Party in Soho.

First up, Street Party in Soho kicked off the night with their upbeat, catchy indie-pop. Ryan Young gave enthusiastic lead vox and guitar as the band knocked out crackers Mamba, Ben, Kyoto, Now or Never and 17, and took a couple of great new numbers for a spin too. Bouncy and assured, these guys are whacking out better tunes with more presence than some groups twice their age and experience, and were a great opener for the night to come.

Next up, Kosoti’s Allan Hyslop commanded the crowd to get front and centre for a lively, energetic set featuring favourites Pirouettes, War, Bark & Sticks, Keep, and Take Me Home, as well as great new single Gone Too Far, out on Monday 27th April. With sublime former vocalist Rebecca Gregson markedly absent, the band had a noticeably different, slightly harder sound, bassist Christos Worsley putting his own spin on the picked-up vocals. For their first outing then as a newly-minted five-piece, the band delivered a full-bodied set, bursting with feeling and heart, and Hyslop driven as ever to deliver their folksy, melodic goods to his audience.

these guys are whacking out better tunes with more presence than some groups twice their age and experience

Smashing onto the stage then came the Raglans, all mandolins, bar-brawl energy and proper Dublin attitude, taking the face clean off the crowd as they blasted through a set covering the bulk of their brilliant self-titled 2014 debut album. Supremely confident, relentlessly animated, and completely owning the room, the lads stormed through Natives, (Lady) Roll Back The Years, White Lightning, Morning Morning, Down, Icarus, Before Tonight, Not Now, High Road, Fake Blood and The Bitter End, before closing the show with jumpy, chant-along classic The Man From Glasgow (which must’ve went down a storm at their recent show in the city) and an astonishing performance of fan-fave Digging Holes. Running on seemingly unlimited reserves of infectious energy, lead Stephen Kelly launched himself tambourine in-hand for a victory lap through the Cluny, before rejoining his bandmates to smash up some newly-arrived on-stage percussion and bring the night to a tub-thumping, unforgettable end.

The show continues a run of ever-more self-assured and authoritative gigs for the Raglans, delivering what really is an astonishingly solid set of distinctively mandolin-infused, fist pumping, earworm tunes, and forging new fans left and right.

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