Shortly after my first time attending an event at St Luke’s Church, I was already heading back there in no time, on this occasion to see Little Green Cars. It was inevitable that I’d eventually find myself at one of their shows – I had first heard their music probably around the summer of 2016 and was really digging what I was hearing at the time. First up for the evening, though, was the support act in the form of Brian Mooney who was accompanied by much established musician Seán Mac Erlaine playing the Bass Clarinet. Brian himself was a bit of a multi-trick pony, showing his hand at Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar and Piano across their short support set, all the while singing, keeping the show fresh from song to song.
My favourite part was definitely the final song he played on the piano, during a portion of which the tone and flow of the music could be said to resemble that of an emergency vehicle’s siren; sure enough Brian whipped out a toy ambulance and held it up to the microphone to play it’s part in accompaniment to the song. Bravo Mr Mooney for that one, bravo indeed. There was no doubt that Brian put on a good warm-up show to build us up to Little Green Cars, though I did wonder where the band had picked him up from, for his name seemingly flew under the radar for the most part as far as I was aware. During an aside from their own set later on, Little Green Cars’s Stevie Appleby took the opportunity to fill in the gap for those unaware. To keep the story brief, Brian goes way back with them and used to drive their band van around for their gigs, and one show a few years back their support act pulled out on short notice. Knowing that Brian possessed musical talents in his own right, they took the chance to ask him if he’d give filling in for the support a go, and they’ve elected to have him as their official support act ever since. I do love that tale myself, and it further backs up the brilliant character behind everyone in Little Green Cars that I’ve heard many great things about. When reached for comment, Brian himself had this to say of LGC “the most inspiring group of people I ever did meet”. Well there ya have it.
Little Green Cars
Without further ado, it’s time we looked at the main segment of the evening. This show, the first of a two night double header due to high demand, marked Little Green Cars’s return to the limelight from somewhat of an incognito year as they set about working on their 3rd album, so there was no doubt we were in for some new treats. Indeed, they wasted no time at all getting to that point, hitting us with two back to back previously unheard tracks right from the get-go. A bold move, I dig it. They reeled it back for the next two songs, bringing some more familiarity back with a couple older tunes. I got the impression their set list was a carefully calculated tug of war between what is expected of a band stepping up to the stage – Which is to entertain their fans with old favourites from their previous two albums – And with their overall intention for the evening – To crowd test a portion of their last year’s work on new material and gauge the response, hopefully to ascertain that their efforts have not been in vain and translate well to their fans beyond the writer’s room as it were. A thin line that they walked confidently and with resounding success in my opinion.
Once more they continued to debut some new songs, the next – and first I caught a title for – being a song called ‘Chomping on My Tongue’ (Here’s hoping I got that one correct). Three new songs down, it was clear from the solid showing that their next album will be a force to be reckoned with. Following that came another new song ‘Bug’. Bug is a sort of love-song written from the perspective of a clingy computer virus which maintains a stalker-ish level infatuation with it’s host’s owner. The execution of this song is flawless, with Stevie’s main vocal presence imitating perfectly in flow, tone and lyrical structure how one might personify a computer virus. Quite fittingly for the nature of the track, I think this is going to be one of those songs that gets stuck in the listeners head upon hearing it and bounce around in their brain for a while. Indeed, nearly a month later and with only having heard it once, it’s sound still briefly makes an appearance in my head’s audio cycle.
Given that it was the Christmas season, and Little Green Cars are no strangers to dabbling with their own stabs at Christmas song-writing, it was high time for them to introduce a Christmas song in the set. Speaking before the song, Stevie explained how they were once asked to write a Christmas song for a charity CD, and their first attempt “There’s No Christmas In Prison” was declined, so they followed it up with “Reindeer With a Broken Leg”. That one made the cut, and can even be found on Youtube (I’ll put it below this). However, this is not what they brought to play for us on this evening. Introducing the song as “In Their Eyes”, it explored at it’s core how people at Christmas time are generally doing the best that they can, or as Stevie puts it, making “A Noble Attempt”. As the song came to a finish, Stevie stepped up abruptly and declared “The show cannot continue! Faye is cold”. It was no lie, it was a viciously cold evening and the venue for all it’s acoustic prowess does not fare well with cold conditions, and Faye had been brave-facing it for a while in her unfortunately ill equipped attire (Though stylishly on point). With that, Stevie shed his great coat and draped it around his fellow band member’s shoulders, as she danced the fence of protesting the style clash and being grateful for the much needed warmth boost. And to Stevie I can only say one thing for that: A noble attempt indeed, good sir.
The show kicked into it’s final gear after that point, as fantastic showings of their older songs ‘Kitchen Floor’ and ‘Party’ accompanied one of their most successful tracks ‘My Love Took Me Down To The River To Silence Me’. The final new song debut of the night came in the form of a song called ‘Midnight on Other Planets’, with Stevie teasing that it was but one of two Space-themed songs from the upcoming album. Another great track that was, it’s got the potential to be a fan favourite when the album drops, only time and hearing what else they have to offer when it comes to it shall tell. Finally, to close out the evening, there was one more song to play, and of course no surprises there with it being ‘The John Wayne’. For this, they all departed the stage and came down to the middle of the aisle and performed it unplugged, with just their voices and an acoustic guitar carrying them through the air of the church, really showcasing the quality of the acoustics in the venue. With that, the evening was over. My conclusion? They play a very exciting live show, their harmonies across the whole band with the stand-out vocals from Stevie and Faye are simply amazing, and I can’t wait for the album to come. Most unfortunately, it turns out that they would have had Merch to sell but it was left at their hotel room, so I sadly left empty handed. I’m sure I’ll be changing that as soon as I can, not least of which I’d love to own one of their albums on Vinyl. We shall see where time takes us on that front. That’s all for now folks, and remember, keep on Merchin’!