When waist length dreadlocks and 1860s Victorian hoop skirts share the opening slot, it will be a fun night.  Hugo & Treats combined with their plethora of backers to warm the Friday evening heal-draggers through UK-born MC Hugo’s energetic demands for attention. Punters expecting a run of the mill outpouring of collected thoughts and everyday observations were very much mistaken and could only be engaged by this eclectic crew. While the choreographed mayhem continued, they sounded out the poignant “We Are The Humans” and earned more than a few attentive early-bird’s gazes.

With the evening’s ice-shield sufficiently shattered, The Vaudeville Smash brought an instantly relaxed vibe to the room.  Stripping back the sound levels to a cheerful take on lounge paced disco-funk, TVS flew through their set to an appreciative, swelling crowd with well deserved hoots from the bellows of the room. Touring busily in support of their latest single “Breezy Summer Hits” TVS have mastered filling out a party atmosphere and have certainly paid their dues in 2011 with a coveted slot at South By South West adding weighty experience to this confident outfit.

Lead singer Marc Lucchesi worked with the tight band and linked particularly well with guitarist/synth player Nic Lam before occasionally unleashing wave of sax, pleasing every ear in the room. Each song brought out more involvement from each member, layering further sounds into an evolving set into a bouncing mess that left the room a buzz after an all too short set.

Entering a well warmed room, a coalition of hip-hop and electro forces, The Melodics could  have been justifiably overwhelmed by the occasion – this was their last ever gig!  With central stage figure Jeremedy (moving to full time Grey Ghost post-gig) feeling his way through the opener, the emotional nerves were quickly shaken off. Drama built, only to be driven through with a thumping bass line.  How else could you attack a track like “Cash.Sex.Cool” other than to launch a full scale assault on the mood. Fast tracked through, “Donkey Kong Suicide” brought the room to a bouncing, waving frenzy just as “Bang Bang” dragged in the bar dwellers who’d been loitering at the back.

It’s a pleasant and warming comfort to watch a band of sure friends pull the pin so amicably on what has been a prolific few of years, littered with quick fire, purposeful EP releases.  Throughout the show the band’s influences blended tastefully, making way for each member to take the limelight and soak up the jostling crowd’s appreciation.  Tenor sax and sustained fender bending brought out a full array of a talented ensemble. Finale, “The Weatherman” combined with a ridiculous, bombastic rendition of Europe’s “The Final Countdown” to call time on the evening and The Melodics.

While the splintering group seem to be exiting stage right at the peek of their powers, fans will no doubt take solace in the triumphant sign off.

– Ciarán Wilcox.