- 28 Oct 19
They've got a pocketful of sunshine.
The audience at Whelan's Upstairs was in for a treat yesterday when they got an exclusive first listen to First Day Lions' debut record. If the launch party is any indication, Time is a bundle of pure energy, good vibes and a lot of fun.
Not to sound cheesy, but First Day Lions' songs are the musical equivalent of sunshine after a rainy day. All of their tunes instantly put a smile on your face and if not for the music itself, their delivery and performance certainly will do the job. I'm confident in saying that I've never seen a band so full of joy and enthusiasm while playing on stage – and not in a fake way. These guys genuinely seemed to have the time of their lives up there, grinning and laughing throughout the whole concert.
Needless to say, their attitude was more than infectious as exemplified by the constant dancing in front of the stage. The crowd had a good soundtrack to dance to as well. From the funky bass and pop culture references in '70 Sense' to the catchy drum beat and impressive keyboard fillings in 'I Am Ready', First Day Lions have got some bangers. Although all of their songs sound like they were made of sunshine (excuse the cheesy sun metaphor again), they bring something new to every tune, so it never gets boring.
However, there was one moment during the concert when the crowd fell quiet and the atmosphere changed to something more intimate. That was when frontman Adam Cunningham's sister Shanna stepped on stage to perform the song 'Perfume & Cider' with the band. Their voices harmonised perfectly and had the whole room into swaying slowly from side to side for the next four minutes. After all, their music still keeps you dancing, even the slower numbers.
Making use of the more serious atmosphere, Adam took a minute to talk about the process of making the album. He explained how they locked themselves away to write a record with a story and continuity, just like Pink Floyd's The Wall. After citing Dire Straits and the Beatles as other influences, the band broke out into an energetic version of 'Come Together' by the Fab Four.
The Beatles hit wasn't the only cover song that kept the audience dancing, as First Day Lions chose a number of famous songs to go with their happy-go-lucky set, such as 'Everywhere' by Fleetwood Mac, Marvin Gaye's 'I Heard It Through The Grapevine' and 'I Want To Break Free' by Queen. The numerous sing alongs were proof that they know their audience. Then again, who doesn't love a bit of Queen? Those songs are sure-fire hits but only work when performed with charming confidence and musical talent – two things First Day Lions definitely embody.
Speaking of talent, their energetic set also sparked some impressive instrumental solos. The bassist, guitarist and keyboard player all got their time to shine and boy, oh boy did they shine (I just can't stop with those sunshine references, can I?). These guys have got some serious skills!
As their set came to a close, First Day Lions pulled out all the stops. "We have to get into character", they announce before changing into leather jackets and sunglasses – the same look they sport in the music video for their new single 'Mary Lou'. Not surprisingly they managed to recreate the same positive vibe of the video on stage, just like they did all night.
Another highlight of the set was their very own 'Danger Zone', complete with a catchy guitar riff and a mid-song break that took the audience by surprise. In this moment, the energy in the room was palpable and you could see in everyone's faces that they felt it too.
To close the show, First Day Lions went classic rock again and opted for 'Hotel California' by the Eagles. What made this version so intriguing, however, was the little surprise halfway through the song, when they threw a little bit of '... Baby One More Time' in there. You know, as one does. Who knew that Britney Spears and the Eagles would work so well together? It was the perfect ending to a delight of a night!