AU Magazine ASIWYFA's Album Launch
A bustling Mandela Hall, merchandise, people chatting excitedly about the imminent gig. Another big touring band visiting the Students' Union then? Wrong. This time, all the stops have been pulled out for Northern Irish heroes And So I Watch You From Afar and the launch of their debut album.
The build up to this gig was incredible with plenty of press attention and word of mouth spreading around the whole of Northern Ireland. With hype like this generated around the launch, the pressure was definitely on, especially after the success of their previous big gig, 'A Little Solidarity'.
And so to the main event. After months of preparation and planning, the anticipation in Mandela Hall was intense. The crowd packed into the venue to get the perfect position to witness something that promised to be truly spectacular. The house lights went down, The National started playing around the hall and from the shadows walked the heroes of the hour, And So I Watch You From Afar.
Before the band had even began to play a single note, the crowd were going nuts screaming and cheering, and once the pounding opening notes of "Set Guitars To Kill" blasted out, there was not a single person in the room who wasn't head banging or jumping around.
The set consisted of the debut album from start to finish in its entirety, a feat that not many bands have ever tried, or are able to pull off successfully, showing that ASIWYFA aren't just your average band. Aside from the storming album (and gig) opener, musical highlights included a 'choir' of singers made up of a who's who of local musicians singing the backing chants during "Don't Waste Time Doing Things You Hate". ASIWYFA then nipped off stage briefly, before returning with their encore tracks, old favourite (and now classic) "The Voiceless" and an eventful finale which saw the band stop playing briefly to reason with a bouncer to let a guy in the crowd finish his surfing. Finish he did and ended up on stage dancing for the duration, meanwhile Tony from ASIWYFA went old school rock and trashed a guitar. The set was passionate, energetic, emotional and everything in between. A roller coaster ride that no one wanted to end, it's hard to see how any other band could possibly top this show.
It's almost impossible to single out one or two tracks that really stood out above the rest because the whole set was phenomenal! It was plain to see on everyone's face, band and punters alike, that this was an emotional experience. The atmosphere was electric and full of excitement. The production, lighting and sound were amazing and fitting for such an occasion. Massive congratulations have to go out to everyone involved, it was one of the greatest spectacles ever witnessed in Belfast. If you were at the gig, there's no doubt it has made your top 5 gigs ever. And if you have your album already, I bet its on repeat.
- Emma-Rose McGrady, ATL
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