And So I Watch You From Afar – Belfast, Mandela Hall, 20/06/2015

Skymas 2015Summer is here and, as usual, Northern Ireland’s weather just doesn’t know what to do with itself, one minute it’s like being in the Bahamas, the next the Heaven’s open up.  This weekend in particular was a special one, with both Father’s Day and the Summer Solstice happening where thousands of sun worshippers gather to Stonehenge. For the people of Belfast though there was something more important on and that was the welcome home show for local heroes And So I Watch You From Afar following their extensive tour. Having just released their new album ‘Heirs’, the boys were not just ready to play, they were ready to party.

Belfast three piece Skymas opened the nights proceedings with their drum and bass style. Greeted to the sounds of “oowah oowah” from the Belfast crowd, the boys everyone into a dance frenzy to warm them up for what’s to come. The only downside to their performance was that their sound was terrible: even though their performance is very bass orientated, it drowned out Martin Corrigan.

ASIWYFA 2015With the famous Mandela Hall in Queen’s Student Union now at full capacity, it was time for the boys from the North Coast to bring the house down. From the very first note that was played to the last, the Belfast crowd hung on every note that the instrumental four piece played:  I hadn’t heard a crowd sing like that since legendary Irish group Horslips played the Odyssey a few years back.

What I found interesting about the band’s set was that, while they were promoting their new album, they seemed more interested in busting out the classics, tracks like ‘7 Billion People All Alive At Once’ and ‘S Is For Salamander’. While there is not much singing with ASIWYFA’s music, the band performed ‘These Secret Kings’ with guitarist Rory Frier’s brother on lead vocals in honour of Father’s Day, followed by the beautiful ‘A Little Bit Of Solidarity’ for their Northern Irish family aka the whole crowd.

The one thing that could be said about an ASIWYFA performance is the atmosphere at their concerts and, with ‘Set Guitars To Kill’ and ‘Voiceless’ for their encore, the crowd did everything to bring the venue down to the ground, from crowd surfing to a shirtless wall of death. With a show like that, I wonder how many people made it back to Katy Daly’s for the aftershow party?

To be completely honest, I wasn’t a fan of ASIWYFA, but I did keep my mind open, not knowing what to expect. I left that venue pleasantly surprised and amazed at what a great performance the boys put on and I am sure this show won’t be the last time I see them.

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About Marc Leach

I am a Northern Irish freelance photography who specialises in music, promotional and event photography.