Live at Brudenell Social Club on Monday, 18th April 2016
Tipperary natives The Winter Passing are on tour opening for Moose Blood and touting their debut LP A Different Space Of Mind in the process. Both bands are relatively new and both have a sound that flirts and skirts around emo, which makes for palpable energy in the crowd at Brudenell Social Club.
Unfortunately for The Winter Passing they have trouble harnessing it, and struggle to whip up the kind of easy back and forth with the audience they're so valiantly trying for. It's tempting to blame this on the band being relatively unknown, but it's more likely the result of a crowd here to revel in the apathy of youth. Even tactful rallying cries of 'who's looking forward to Moose Blood?!' - and logically, most people must be - are met with disinterest. That doesn't stop the band trying to win them over, and they just about manage it.
Siblings Rob and Kate Flynn lead from the front. Rob sings in that earnest, urgent, emo way that can sometimes come across as trite but doesn't here, despite the well worn subject matter ('this is a song about dealing with demons'). The Winter Passing ultimately come over as an Irish Get Up Kids with added Christine McVie, although Kate Flynn is more like Cyndi Lauper on Lucozade, bouncing around the keyboard and indulging in some yelping, chanting and drum banging when things need shaking up. They may not be headlining yet, but surely it's only a matter of time.
Moose Blood have better luck with the crowd, who are fully committed from the opening strains of Swim Down. From there the investment of band and fans only deepens, but it's hard to escape the feeling that in terms of the actual songs it's a case of diminishing returns.
The band are tight, and as passionate as anyone could ask for, which is why it's all the more frustrating watching the narrow scope of their tunes and lack of originality let them down. With one album behind them and another one on the way, it's not hard to imagine them soon running out of early 00's albums to mine for influence - the Moose Blood downtime playlist must be swelling with Chris Carrabba and Chuck Ragan. It's in the titles - I Hope You're Missing Me eventually makes way for I Hope You're Miserable - and the lyrics, about agonising first love unrequited, nights you never want to end, and tentative sweater swapping with the girl your angst ridden self can't live without.
It's all delivered with gusto, but whereas their forerunners invented a genre Moose Blood appear to be simply retreading old ground. It's the crowd that dictates in the end though, and from them - whether it's singing every word of Girl or invading the stage during set closer Gum - the band get nothing but love.