Live Review: Cashier No. 9 with Kowalski at London XOYO – 24th November 2011

By on Tuesday, 6th December 2011 at 2:00 pm

There is no use ignoring the music coming out of Northern Ireland right now. First there was Two Door Cinema Club, making a big noise last year and now headlining the upcoming NME Awards tour next February. So what’s going on now? Here comes the rampaging approach of two potentially heavy hitters: Cashier No. 9, earmarked by Simon Raymonde’s Bella Union and Two Door’s ‘little brothers’ Kowalski. (I put ‘little brothers’ in quotes because there is a brother connection between the two bands – Kev Baird’s brother Paddy plays drums in Kowalski.) Both bands played sets for a pretty well attended gig late November Thursday night in the Capital at relatively new venue XOYO.

Because of Kowalski’s relationship with Two Door, I kind of assumed an unfair assumption that they would be trying to ride on Two Door’s coattails to success. And while a casual listener might think these two bands sound the same, I think Kowalski has done a good job sonically distancing themselves from the band the media are probably going to lazily lump them with for the next couple years of their career, based on the jaunty guitars alone. ‘Navigate November’, a great track from their EP ‘Take Care, Take Flight’, was a standout from their support set. The band also showed off two new tracks (presumably appearing on their debut album?), ‘Ribbons’ and ‘While We Drive’ (watch it below). I’d keep an eye on these guys, I think they have great potential.


My impression the first time I heard Cashier No. 9: file under unremarkable psych rock. My fellow Washingtonian writer Cheryl urged me on, saying that I should give them a real try. So when their gig popped up in November just the week I happened to be in town celebrating my birthday, I said, okay, let’s give these guys a real chance. The multi-coloured light show keeping the band under a constant glow of various shades and glints added rather than distracted from their performance; turns out this was a happy coincidence, as frontman Danny Todd told me afterwards that the lights were the venue’s and not theirs. ‘Goldstar’, one of their singles this year, went down incredibly well, as did ‘Oh Pity’ (video below), currently making the British radio rounds. Three songs in, I applauded myself silently for choosing to attend this gig on my English holiday. I suspect this will go down in the band’s books as one of their early triumphs in London.


Other tracks from their debut album released this summer, ‘To the Death of Fun’, like ‘Lost at Sea’ and ‘The Lighthouse Will Lead You Out’, shone as promising gems that the audience may not have known but lapped up in short order. At first I was worried this was going to be a case of “oh London punters are just too cool for school and won’t show any emotion” but I was wrong. Men and women alike cheered for the band that has interestingly a percussionist who breaks out in harmonica solos. (I have no idea if this is normal for Cashier No. 9 songs but it certainly isn’t for a rock show these days.) A pair of women next to me was squealing constantly during the entire set. Now, I have been known to get my fangirl on and squeal during my favourite bands’ performances, but it was funny, these women desperately wanted set lists and whatever else they could get their hands on. If one live performance was enough to encourage that kind of fanaticism (Cashier No. 9 hasn’t gone on tour all that much in the UK…yet…), god only knows the kind of popular reception they’ll have at next year’s festivals.

After the cut: more photos and set list.

Kowalski Photos:

Cashier No. 9 Set List
Lost at Sea
Oh Pity
Make You Feel Better
The Lighthouse Will Lead You Out
When Jackie Shone
Goodbye Friend
Them (not sure what song this is?)

Cashier No. 9 Set Photos

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