The long awaited debut album ‘The Devil is a Songbird’ has been officially released and to celebrate PORTS embarked on a mini tour of Northern Ireland, taking in the surroundings of Portstewart’s Flowerfield Arts Centre and the Black Box in Belfast before finishing in their home town with a sold out performance at The Glassworks.
As the sun began to set through the beautiful stained glass windows scattering beams of colour across the main room of the grand 19th century Georgian building, PORTS took to the stage with a crescendo of noise filling the room.
Launching into the pitch perfect vocal harmonies combined with the heavy guitar riffs that they are renown for, they had the crowd from the off. This was a gig that many had been looking forward to and it was obvious from the wide smiles adorning the guys faces that the feeling was mutual.
On the night, the four piece became nine as they were joined onstage by the Prima Quartet and Liam Craig - producer of The Devil is a Songbird - on guitar.
The fact that most people in the grand old building had already heard the album meant that the atmosphere was relaxed, there was no pressure as everyone knew just how good the debut album was. Now it was time to hear it live.
It had been a long time coming but well worth the wait with a few ups and downs along the way – including a forced name change from Little Bear – but PORTS have now officially arrived with a perfect album in their back pocket, and they knew it. Lead singer Steven McCool couldn’t stop smiling all night as he soaked up the atmosphere enjoying every second of his home town gig.
The Devil is a Songbird is an album filled with anthems and produced to perfection, but you can’t beat the live thing. PORTS are a fantastic live band oozing energy and personality with catchy choruses in abundance making it nearly impossible not to join in.
From the rocking waltz of ‘The Few and Far Between’ to the haunting ‘I’d Let You Win’ every song is an absolute gem but the highlight of the night had to be the title track. As the room silenced, McCool stepped away from the microphone and used the acoustics of the big hall to project his voice across a packed room. Goosebumps. The track itself is immense, but hearing it performed in such a way was genuinely special.
Ports have been on the verge of greatness, on the lips of music pundits throughout the land for many years but the question was always there. When would they step from that ledge and finally arrive. They just have.
Saturday, May 28th 2016.