In the dodgier (and if we’re being honest about it, frankly scary) part of Belfast lurks the Front Page. A small bar and gig venue whose very charm resides in its’ shabbiness. Tonight it plays host to a rather special event. The newly reformed Red Returned are due to play their comeback gig. The local talent has achieved an impressive amount in the past two months. Establishing a new line up, writing and rehearsing brand new material and to top it all, the band has never been so highly in demand, booking an impressive number of gigs over the next few months. So, tonight is the bands chance to prove that all the changes and hard work have paid off … no pressure at all then.
Fortunately the band’s performance doesn’t disappoint, far from it. It’s clear right from the off with opening track Where I Belong that this is a band sure of their sound and their own talent. They belt out the opener with a quiet confidence that lets their music do the talking. Tonight showcases the new vocal talent of Taryn Walker. For those still idling over their pints, her fragile, Hayley Williams-esque wail does much to catch their attention. Taryn’s vocals are surrounded by a sea of melodic guitar and pounding drums.
The second track in the bands seven song set is the much harder Broken Promise. It’s brute force guitar is akin to a slap in the face after being eased in with the whimsical alternative rock of it’s predecessor. It’s at this point Taryn starts to show just how strong a stage presence she has the potential to be. Her quiet confidence starts to give way to more interaction with the crowd, who appreciate the effort. It’s a reassuring glimpse of the front woman she’ll be given time and experience.
The band’s cover of Jimmy Eat World’s The Middle is note perfect and a familiar crowd pleaser. That aside though, they have no need of covers, their own material has enough originality and force to leave them standing on their own two feet. The highlight of the nights set comes in the form of This Could be the Start of Something Beautiful. The guitar comes to the fore and is matched perfectly alongside Walker’s vocals. The band unleashes the full force of their talent here, deviating from their earlier quiet confidence, showing just how well gelled and organised their sound is.
Don’t Listen sees the band returning to their angsty, Paramore infused sound from earlier in the set. Walker’s delicate vocals adopt a venomous edge accompanied by menacing guitar. The set closes with a rendition of Can’t Go Back, a punchy, punky number reminiscent of early Blink or New Found Glory. It leaves the band going out on a high. Red Returned can be proud of the results here tonight, not only have they proven the work has been worth it, but they leave the stage an act that promises so much more for the future, deserving of the attention they’ve had so far. If tonight is anything to go by, it’s safe to say that the Red have definitely returned.