Heathers @ Monto Water Rats 28th April 2011

The first time I saw Irish duo Heathers was back in 2008 when they opened for Kimya Dawson at the Union Chapel. That was the first time twins Ellie and Louise Macnamara had played in London. As soon as I saw Heathers were going to play at Monto Water Rats I purchased the ticket straight away. I was relishing seeing them play material from debut album Here, Not There again. Both Ellie and Louise have embarked on a short three day tour of the UK. London was the first stop of this tour and this then culminated with a performance at The Spread Eagle in conjunction with the Camden Crawl. These two have already made waves in Ireland plus they have toured America as well. It looks like they have the UK firmly in their sights. For starters Steve Lamacq of 6Music has already named them as his favourite new band. Mr Lamacq definately has good taste. Heathers debut album Here, Not There was by far my favourite release in 2008. The album was unleashed to the UK market early this year and everyone should own a copy.

Even though Heathers were billed as being the headline act on the night they were actually the second band on. I had no complaints about this as it made this gig a nice early one for me. “Hi we’re Heathers” Ellie told the audience before launching into the debut single Remember When which was dubbed the sound track of the Irish summer. This was a gentle song which is extremely catchy. Heathers sing acoustic Indie Folk music and to be honest it is completely mesmerising. As soon as Louise started playing the acoustic guitar and Ellie started singing I was instantly drawn in. So after there was plenty of applause Louise then told the audience that the set lists had been printed out in blue ink (as the black ink had ran out) and that it was very hard to see what was written down. The song that followed on was Fire Ants. Now the harmonising was spot on and this was a faultless performance of this song. It doesn’t surpise me that they have made their mark in Ireland. “So I think this is our maybe third time here in London” Ellie told the audience before revealing what they had done earlier on “We managed to actually go and see Platform 9 3/4 from Harry Potter today and it was probably the  highlight of my day possibly year”. Johnny then joined the two on Cello for the next song Reading In The Dark. Now they storm through this song and it sounds every so lovely. I found it to be both soothing and was ever so powerful at the same time. Once over there was plenty of applause then the band launched into a brand new song and this being Waiter. It always is a pleasure to hear new material and this song was amazing. I would say this song has to feature on the 2nd album. The new songs didn’t stop there. This new song was Find A Way and it is very uptempo. Also the use of the Cello makes it sound amazing. I look forward to hearing the studio version of this song. “I feel so dehydrated, the amount of bottles of water we have gone through today is unbelievable. I was just saying earlier on that they had more of those water fountains in place where you could just fill up your bottes” Louise told the audience before launching into a special song. This being a unique take on the Beyonce classic Halo. They completely made the song their own it was powerful at the time and delivered superbly. After this outstanding cover version was over it was then onto the penultimate new song on the night. “We already have an album but we’re in the middle of writing a second album and this will be hopefully one of the songs Louise told the audience before launching into Listen Don’t Speak. Again this is a beautiful song which will no doubt feature on the second album. Sometimes it is hard to take to brand new songs but with this one I was captivated straight away. The band then launched into Hush Hush straight after Listen Don’t Speak ended. This song again shows off their fantastic harmonising skills. After there was some banter from Ellie as Louise had to tune up her guitar. The most funniest thing was when Louise told Ellie Brum means Birmingham. “Really” was Ellie’s response as soon as Louise told her what Brum meant. Once Louise had turned the guitar they then launched into penultimate song Slices Of Palama which had a UK release at the start of this year. This song was very uptempo and incredible at the same time. In fact there is not a single bad track on the debut album Here, Not There. The set ended with another brand new song and this was Underground Beneath. This song is yet another cracking song. The thought of the second album is mouth watering and I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy when. It seems as if the new album will be Here, Not There Part 2 and this is not a bad thing as they have stuck to the same winning formula that gave us classic songs from the debut album.

SET LIST

Remember When
Fire Ants
Reading In The Dark
Waiter
Find A Way
Halo
Listen Don’t Speak
Hush Hush
Slices Of Palama
Underground Beneath

OVERALL: It was nice to see Ellie and Louise on UK shores. They definately have what it takes to conquer this country. Here, Not There is a fantastic debut album and I think everyone should have a copy. I look forward to seeing them on the Camden Crawl this coming Sunday and I just hope it isn’t that long till they both return again. The fact they love London is a good sign they will be back some time in the future.

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