March 17th, 2008 was the last day I remember not hearing a loud ringing in my left ear. Years earlier I had damaged the same ear after the sound at a Def Leppard show in the Ambassador had been turned up so loud even the critics sitting in the balcony had to mention it (and make the obligatory jokes of course). Typically enough yours truly was right up the front and after just two speedy hours of perfect hard hittin’ rock n roll classics from Sheffield’s greatest band, young Tickets There was left with impaired hearing and tinnitus for almost four years. One day it suddenly disappeared, after tortuous efforts like avoiding gigs (well, going to the front at least), not using headphones, using personal sound wave techniques and a whole bunch of other crap.
After all that, it only took one hour in the sleazy, dark ‘n’ smelly surroundings of Fibber MaGee’s and one of Irelands most exciting rock groups, Concerto for Constantine to bring it all back again. But hey, it was worth it.
Despite the fact that the band was only formed in mid 2007, by former JJ72 ringleader, Mark Greaney, Gavin Fox (Turn / Idlewild) and Binzer (The Frames / Everyone else), it wasn’t long before they were recording, touring the country, headlining shows, supporting legends and getting up to all sorts of rock ‘n’ roll shenanigans and Tickets There was…uhm, there to see it all. A year and a half after the Fibber’s incident my hearing is finally starting to improve, just in time for Concerto to kick things into overkill and wreak havoc all over again as they prepare to release their very first E.P.
Fans of the band will be familiar with the majority of the material here. Tracks like Cats Cradle, Killing Fields and the belting, fire breathing monster that is Gaps, have been staunch set list standards since the groups first shows together. Now they appear beefed up to the extreme, losing none of their live energy and sounding better than ever thanks to the groups hard out efforts in the studio. The original demo’s of these songs still had traces of the band finding their feet together but these recordings make it very clear that C4C are now very aware who they are and what they want from their sound.
Concerto’s first radio (download only) single, Minsk is also here. The recording is the same as the one that’s been on MySpace for a while…but this is not a problem. Quite the opposite in fact because, out of all the recordings the band did of this track, the current one is hard to contend with. An absolute belter of a song only enhanced in a live environment with the bands attack mode ‘set to kill’.
Not ones to simply release an EP of the same tracks that have been on their MySpace for the last two years, the band are also throwing in two of their lesser known future anthems, Vox Humana and Last Swim. Anyone who was at the bands Radio City show in February will remember Vox Humana. A slick yet raw guitar riff backed by a sublime, tense verse and a full on WAR mode chorus. Mark’s voice sounds incredible and one note of the chorus will see many a hard rock fan out there con-fuckin’-verted.
Last Swim is a song that made its debut when the band played their first headlining slot in Whelan’s last April. Written by Gavin Fox, the song is possibly the heaviest track the band has, despite a very mellow, uneasy (uneasy as in it doesn’t give you a chance to relax. Not that’s its bad ) verse. Marks voice, a repetitive guitar riff and some background rhythm dominate the majority of the track until the massive building, crashing Armageddon styled chorus explodes and sends the track soaring higher and higher before a symphony of guitar and bass solo’s come crashing back together for one final pounding. Think it’s over? Fuck no. Just a minute after the song goes silent, Concerto come crashing back in, full steam ahead.
The bands return may mean Tickets There will have to invest in some much needed ear plugs but god damn it we can’t wait. They are one of the loudest, one of the most theatrical and one of the best bands you can go and see live in Ireland these days. Now the band have a stellar EP under their belts, a large underground following and as fans will know, a whole stack of tracks on par with anything here just waiting for their chance to be recorded. Need we say more about this bands future?
Concerto for Constantine’s new EP is available now for streaming from their official MySpace. If you haven’t copped on yet, Tickets There is very much recommending all our readers to go and check it out right now.
- Concerto for Constantine Official MySpace
- EP Blog Post by Binzer @ C4C official MySpace
- Tickets There: Concerto for Constantine Brief History
- Interview with Mark Greaney & Gavin Fox (@ Drop-D.ie)