Egyptian Hip-Hop are a strange band. Formed in 2008, the band generated a huge amount of excitement with their song Rad Pitt. Perhaps somewhat overwhelmed by the attention the song received, the band took until last year to release a full-length album. On Thursday they played their first Irish gig in the Grand Social.
The first support band was I Heart The Monster Hero, a band fond of long chaotic intros to their songs. Whether this was intentional, or if there was some technical issue was hard to tell, but once they actually got going they were pretty good, with fuzzy guitars and strong bass lines complimented by the synths and pleasant vocals.
They were followed by the second support band Vann, who stole the show with their magnificent performance. The band played songs that were full of energy and excitement, with massive, catchy choruses, such as the powerful Be My Balloon. The band rely mostly on 80s’ style synth sounds, but biting guitar solos regularly come crashing into the songs adding some steel to the tunes. The band were animated, and front man Aaron Smyth was especially engaging, leaping all over the stage and generally holding the undivided attention of the audience. Here is a band with huge potential, and every single one of the songs they played was breath-taking.
The crowd actually thinned out for the headliners of the show, Egyptian Hip-Hop. And it was fairly obvious why, after the instantly like-able anthems played by Vann, Egyptian Hip-Hop’s psychedelic noise fest was difficult to wrap your ears around. The band played songs that are dependent on the bass to hold the melody line, while the effect-heavy guitars swirling round vaguely. The vocals are drenched in reverb which makes making out any lyrics is impossible. The result is insubstantial sounding songs that fail to grab you. That being said, there are moments when it all seems to come together for the band. The White Falls borders on brilliance, creating an eerie atmosphere that invites you to lose yourself in its murky depths. But at other points, such as in Tobago, the sound is just too wispy and lacking in substance to garner anything meaningful from the song. The problem is, there’s just too many effects used on both guitars and vocal. The music has no purpose or direction, it merely floats around fruitlessly. To make things worse, the band didn’t even play Rad Pitt, their trademark tune.
Rarely does a support band overshadow the main act as much as Vann did here, but that’s exactly what happened at the Grand Social. Egyptian Hip-Hop weren’t bad by any means, but they failed to catch the imagination as much as Vann did, and ultimately the night belonged to the support group.