Pretty Happy at Kasbah Social Club, Limerick on October 1st, 2022

The beauty of a Seoda Shows bill in the Kasbah Social Club is that you never quite know what you might get on any night, and the offering last Saturday night was no exception.

First up is local band Small Church, a fresh new act with an intriguing sound – breathy vocals, a pulsating rhythm section, and sparkling creative use of a Roli controller makes for a tantalising setup.

Their set is a mixed affair as you would expect from a group still developing their stage craft but when it gels they really kick, and three songs into proceedings there are certainly kicking with some style. Bit Cross and Jealous are perfect dreamy indie fare, and On My Own hints at headier ambitions – a Just Mustard tinged anthem that provides a powerful finale.

Headliners on the night Pretty Happy from Cork have had plenty of buzz building about them and they certainly deliver a distinctive performance – part madcap cabaret, part acerbic punk.

Kicking things off with a theatrical skit about Fintan O’Toole is certainly a bold but entertaining choice with drummer Andy Killian even donning attire reminiscent of the Irish social commentator, and then bang we’re into Salami, the track that has brought them to the attention of Irish music connoisseurs. Live it’s even more delightfully chaotic with an enthralling punky blowout.

Solpadine is the very anthesis of the drug of the same name, the three overlapping vocals creating a mesmeric disconcerting effect. We’re then treated to Boots, a song that is loosely about “a man as big as a tree” a real highlight of the set, which sees the band wound tight, producing a gloriously pounding and urgently rhythmic construction, almost tribal in effect.

The onstage dynamic is enthralling with Abbey (guitars/vocals) and Arran Blake (bass/vocals) engaged in a high powered stomp-off throughout, whilst songs come and go with whispered asides, abrupt conclusions and eclectic segues. Sudocream brings this most eclectic of nights to a close, surf rock morphing into mayhem and madness – the perfect conclusion.

With their debut EP soon to be released, and a support slot for Pavement’s Dublin date booked in for November, it will be interesting to see how they further develop their art-rock aesthetic. Pretty Happy ensure that their audience are constantly kept off-kilter, unsure of what’s coming next and how, making them a particularly intriguing live experience.