A couple of days ago now, I posted a plea on Facebook for friends to give me a letter and a number. Rob McArdle, the editor of the local CAMRA magazine (it’s a cracking read) and somebody I bump into in pubs quite regularly was quickest off the mark. ‘E20’, he suggested.
The idea – I would take a look at the impressive looking Eurosonic line-up (here) and find the corresponding band. Randomness would form my itinerary and I’d force myself to go and see whatever band others had unknowingly nominated.
There aren’t 20 bands playing in Groningen beginning with ‘E’ so I kept counting into the ‘F’s’. The band that Rob has chosen for me and an act I must definitely see at Eurosonic are First Hate, a duo from Copenhagen with a penchant for catchy, synth-heavy indie pop delivered with an original vocal style. Or as their Twitter profile says, “Once upon a time two young boys fell in love and decided to embark on a life long quest together, dedicating their hearts to pop music.”
You know what? I think I’ll probably enjoy watching them. The summer release, Holiday, gives a pretty decent indication of what they’re about. Rooted in the early 1980’s, you can pick out the Vince Clarke influence. There’s a lively bounce and confident swagger about First Hate that’ll keep me entertained. They pull themselves back from the realms of pure tacky Euro-pop with a mournful solace that’s never far from the surface.
And here’s another odd, random thing. I was looking at First Hate’s Twitter account and noticed that a chap called Rian McGrath had asked them a question about the ‘Holiday’ video. “Was it partly filmed at a horse-racing or greyhound stadium?” he asked.
I nearly choked on my cornflakes when I realised that this was Rian McGrath, my friend in Dublin, who I first met at Sonar and have been to Eurovision with in Vienna, Stockholm (and Kiev in 2017). It’s a spooky, small world full of random connections. It was obviously greyhounds.
First Hate – a must see at ESNS 2017.