New Secret Weapon at the Loft Venue, Wednesday 19th August 2015

Wednesday night saw New Secret Weapon return to the Loft Venue. With Stitch Jones and Not Monsters in tow as support, this was a night for those that like their music loud.

First up on the night are Stitch Jones. Taking to the stage in a pair of eye catching rain jackets, its evident from the outset that this duo’s set isn’t going be your run of the mill support slot. First impressions prove correct, their unusual dress sense matched by an equally bizarre musical output. Over the course of their set they veer from sounding like ‘Bleach’-era Nirvana to the Misfits to the Beastie Boys. Throw in a Vanilla Ice cover and some irreverent japery in between songs and you have one of the weirder opening acts this venue has seen in its short existence.

Next up are Not Monsters, a band that features members of Punch Face Champions and CFIT. Purveyors of a very atmospheric brand of alt-rock, this act have been garnering a lot of positive reviews of late and the hype is completely justified. Merging melody with crunching grungey riffs, they have a bright future ahead of them if they maintain this level of performance. Anyone going to Electric Picnic should check them out, they play the Oxfam stage on Saturday.

Top billing on the night goes to New Secret Weapon. Having released their debut album last year to critical acclaim, they’ve carried their momentum into 2015 with successful performances at Knockanstockan and several other festivals. This may be one of the smallest gigs they’ve done in some time but the downsizing doesn’t affect their performance. Their opening song, an instrumental, perfectly encapsulates the bands musical mantra with David Griffin’s heavy riffing locking in perfectly with the band’s formidable rhythm section. Delivered with poise and precession it makes for an impressive opening.

The impetus set by the opener is unfortunately curtailed by some early sound problems but it doesn’t take long for the band to get back into their groove with the rest of the set offering up a perfect example of how hard rock should be done. Driven by Trevor Keogh’s thunderous drumming, it’s all very much of the Black Sabbath/Queens of the Stone Age school of noise- a school that adheres to the adage of “the louder, the better”. Though the grooves are most certainly heavy, they also come with a melodic sensibility. A perfect example being the brilliant Look At the State Of It, a song that showcases their potential for crossover appeal. You’re Still Losin’ is another highlight – this one built upon a hypnotic bass line.

A distinguished performance, Wednesday night demonstrated why New Secret Weapon are held in such high regard in Irish music circles. The next big event in their calendar is a recording session in Chicago with the infamous Steve Albini- the man who handled production on Nirvana’s ‘In Utero’ and the Pixies’s ‘Surfer Rosa’. The results should be interesting to say the least. Here’s hoping a return to the Loft is on the cards after their trip stateside.