Kicking off their Irish tour, The Altered Hours brought their new album, Convertible home to Cork’s Cyprus Avenue. Joining them for support were art-punk Corkonians, Pretty Happy.
Words by Jack Squibb | Pictures by Leanne Gabriel
A week on since the release of their second album Convertible, The Altered Hours returned to Cork to showcase it, fresh off the back from supporting Fontaines D.C. around the UK.
Due to COVID restrictions, there were no tickets for sale on the door and while you’d be forgiven for thinking there’d be a lengthy process to get in, Cyprus Avenue had the process running like a well oiled machine. Queue up as normal, then asked to present your COVID passport, along with ID. Next up, ticket scanned and up the stairs into the venue.
It was an all-Cork line-up with Pretty Happy kicking the night off. Guitarist Abbey Blake and drummer Andy Killian opened up with a playful instrumental, with the glaring omission of bassist and singer Aaran Blake. Like Randy Orton in a WWE pay-per-view, he appears out of nowhere from the crowd, making a beeline to the barrier, before tumbling and crashing.
No one knowing what to make before security come over to help what could be misconstrued for a drunken fan trying to get a good spot. Only then with a grin from those on stage was the bouncer left blushing to realise it was part of a dramatic start to their set.
After clambering up on to the stage with the mood set, Pretty Happy began a pretty electric performance. The deranged look in Aaran’s eyes as he attacks the mic, clashed with furious riffs from Abbey had Cyprus Avenue in awe.
Truly giving their all, it was an emphatic set from Abbey and Aidan ripping into the damning ‘Sea Sea Sea’, while Aaran continued his quest to impress his grandfather with ‘Salami’. Context may be warranted but hey, you’re reading this rather than being there, that’s your loss.
I guess you’ll have to find out at their next show if it were with the song or an actual pack of salami.
First show back on Irish shores after a jam-packed tour with Fontaines D.C. around the UK, there was no better way to start than with a hometown show for The Altered Hours.
It was a communal feeling of joy as those gorgeous shoegaze sounds swarmed the venue. Lead singer, Elaine Howley was dancing around the stage and taking the moment all in, as if she were a fan in the crowd. Taking breathes away with renditions of ‘Thistle’ or the hypnotic ‘Sweet Jelly Roll’.
Co-lead singer, Cathal MacGabhann stirred things up with the new album’s opener, ‘You Are Wrong’ creating a cacophony of noise. The tension was pulsating during the encore when ‘Dig Early’ began to bring the evening to an end in whirlwind fashion.
From the moment the first chord was struck to when they walked off the stage, The Altered Hours had the crowd in the palm of their hands. Puppet masters pulling strings that had the crowd dancing at their will.
It was intense, it was fun and it was loud. It was good to be back. There was a euphoric feeling in the air, people taking in what was for some, their first gig in almost two years.