Little Matador
Manchester Sound Control
Nov 2013
Live Review

It’s never that easy when you get swept away by success to reconnect with your roots.

Snow Patrol have become massive and widely known for those huge indie ballads that fill up the stadiums and fill up the radio. Once, though, they were sprightly young things with a rush of punkish post grunge swashbuckle guitar about them…

How do I know this? Well they used to fly my band Goldblade out to Belfast so they could support us at hot and hectic shows in the city where they were prime movers in getting stuff going at the time. Of course since then Goldblade have gone on to fill stadiums and Snow Patrol have, er…

Those were great times and mad and chaotic nights but this is now and it all seems hard to imagine those times now but here we are in a small bar in Manchester city centre watching Snow Patrol guitarist Nathan Connolly front his own band, Little Matador, who deal out a crunching and very precise rock that would sound great in a packed second stage tent at Download.

With Connolly on lead vocals and guitar, the band also includes Dave Magee (LaFaro), Troy Stewart (from Lightbody’s Tired Pony) and an ace rhythm section comprising Gavin Fox (Turn/Idlewild) and Binzer Brennan (Bell X1/The Frames).

There is a bit of the Queens Of The Stone Age quirk take on rock about them- you know those one fret drop downs, wonky weird guitar licks and sudden endings and great dynamics but they have brought enough of their own DNA into the equation to make this a very worthwhile exercise.

There is a pin you to the wall power about their songs and the playing is sharp and machine like- this is one tight band and they are far more than a side project than a serious proposition on their own terms with the Snow Patrol connection possibly being a hindrance as they try and break free from the mothership. Still that connection means that before they play a sea shanty style song Nathan can buy every one of the 50 strong audience a drink- a magnanimous gesture even if you are slightly higher up on the rock n roll food chain than the usual bar band.

The festivals will make this band. They have the songs and they have the power and they have the direct approach that shows that they are a 100 per cent genuine about what they are doing here and the songs are pretty damn catchy as well and Nathan has a wory charm about his delivery.

It would almost be a shame if this great band was snuffed out when the mothership does return to the fray…

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