Transmission Club live at The Roundy, Cork

The Roundy Bar on Cork’s Castle Street is one of the city’s oldest and best loved bars. Situated on the southern end of Cork’s famous Coal Quay in one of the oldest parts of the city it is an ideal watering hole for thirsty shoppers. To my mind, in recent years the small room above the bar has been synonymous with comedy nights and Northern Soul nights but, tonight The Roundy is hosting one of Cork’s finest up and coming bands. Transmission Club have been on my radar for the best part of 2 years, but until now I had been finding it difficult to catch them live.

Their sound is hard to define and this in particular is why they appeal to me.  A mix of soft, lovelorn songs and hard, indie rock rhythms, often during the same track, separate Transmission Club from their local contemporaries.

The show began with the 6-piece crammed on the tiny stage, while the opening bars of ‘Honey And Milk’ gently rumbled along. The song was released well over a year ago on the band’s excellent, debut, EP, ‘Salt’.  The brilliant ‘Make Waves’ followed next and I couldn’t help but draw comparisons with The Frames ‘Fitzcarraldo’ (not a bad thing) with it’s mix of violin and the impressive rhythm section in the intro. The beginning of ‘This War’ suffered a far too familiar fate as the chatting of the crowd drowned the lead singer’s vocals.

This seems to be an all too frequent occurrence with Cork crowds nowadays, but thankfully by the end of the song Transmission Club had recaptured their audience’s full attention again.  The scourge threatened to raise its unruly head again during the start of ‘Experiment 1’ but thankfully audible shushes rang out before it could reach previous levels. The highlight of the show was the superb, new, single, ‘Taking Off (Blackhole)’ which rumbles along menacingly beneath lead singer Michael Prendiville’s low vocals, before bursting into life for its big chorus.

The brief but impressive set finished up with the excellent ‘Sailing’, a song that succinctly sums up Transmission Club’s style, a slow, melodic, start builds into a big finish and a thumping, loud outro.

I was so impressed by this performance, that I am begrudgingly, willing to accept that they neglected to play debut single, ‘A Weak Heart’. Judging by the levels of applause they received from the packed-out crowd I wasn’t the only one impressed. Hopefully it won’t be too long before Transmission Club release an LP and I have no doubt, bigger venues await.

Words by Anthony Kelly