Tonight sees the launch of 5 Dollar Shakes’ long awaited second EP, Come And See Enough To Stay, which was recorded at the National Concert Hall. A prerecorded piano intro and atmospheric lighting introduces the five piece from Gorey. Ricky Deering’s bass guitar fades in and controlled feedback from the guitars of Colin Doran and Caleb Dowdall builds slowly as the crowd assembles on the dance floor.
The newly-bearded band members are fresh out of college. They have been playing their high energy guitar pop together a few years now. All those sessions on the stage of the UCD student bar have evidently paid off as 5DS play faster and tighter than I have seen them do before.
They are looking a bit more manly now too. Frontman ‘Handsome’ Jack McEvoy has lost the blond from his hair, which is now longer and falling over his face. There’s a big cheer from the female contingent as Jack strips off his black leather jacket, down to a wife beater.
Ever the performer, he jumps into the crowd for ‘Clear Signs’ and picks up a pair of drumsticks for the outro, slamming the cymbals of Ciaran O`Doherty’s kit ‘til they near shatter.
The smiles on the bands’ faces suggest that they are very much enjoying playing the bigger venue. The tunes are as catchy and imaginatively arranged as ever. The new songs are rougher and edgier than their previous Franz Ferdinand influenced output and they make a point of not playing ‘Dutch’, a single from a couple of years back. They have moved on musically.
After the show McEvoy tells me that they are now playing the music that they want to play rather the music that they feel they should play. They’ve kept some of older songs though and beefed a couple of them up so they sound meatier. But some of those from their first EP sound weak now compared to the newer material.
5DS play with the pop appeal of a boy band but the energy of a rock or pop punk band, like the Kaiser Chiefs around the time of their debut album. Its singalong songs rather than dance tunes.
The garage rock of new EP track ‘Stuck In The ‘80s’ kicks ass, as does brand new song ‘Waiting for Aimee’. It’s their first time playing it live. It’s only about a minute long, and punky as you like. There’s a Blitzkrieg Bop feel to it and the band indulge in some headbanging. The faster songs suit them much better. I’m sure they’ll hate me for this but they are the Irish McBusted, but with better tunes.
They finish the main set with ‘Arthouse’ [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=poPS5eOjR4M]. It’s the lead track from the EP and is given a great reception. It’s a downbeat tune with overtones of The Cure in the rhythm section, the Robert Smith lead guitar, and the extended guitar solo.
We’ve had over an hour of original material from a band with a couple of EPs and singles to their name. They are not even talking about an album yet. By the time they get round to that, their setlist will be amazing.
The familiar chant of “One more tune!” rings out around The Opium Rooms. The band are prepared with an oldie, ‘Fire to the Sun’ from their Back To The Start Again EP and announce that the party is set to continue into the night in Whelan’s round the corner.
Come And See Enough To Stay is available from cdbaby [http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/5dollarshakes3]
By Marky Edison