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It took a seven hour flight over the Atlantic Ocean to get here, but Irish trio Bell X1 made it to WERS for a live in-studio performance. They kicked-off their North American Tour only four days earlier. Bandmates Dave Geraghty, Paul Noonan, and Dominic Phillips have been together for about twelve years now and have traveled to the United States many times before, including past performances at WERS. Now with their freshly released sixth studio album, Chop Chop, out since June 2013, the group decided to make another appearance in the states to follow up the release. The studio was given a treat when they did an all acoustic performance on Friday, October 11 that featured three songs off their newest album.
In Ireland, Bell X1 are one of the most adored rock groups in the country. Falling second to U2 with the most air play in their native country, Bell X1 are arena and European music festival headliners. Their fame in North America is still building and will continue to grow with their frequent local tours. It is a different kind of experience to come here for shows, but it is one they all enjoy doing.
At WERS, they opened up with “Starlings Over Brighton Pier,” the first song on the album. The performance as a whole showcased the trio in a different light. Without the effects from synthesizers and the percussion heard on their studio recorded album, their sound had a rawness not heard on Chop Chop. It was played with a piano, acoustic guitar and ukulele.
For famous rock stars, one might be surprised at how soft spoken and mannerly the group is. Their European charm was very evident during the live interview session, when they spoke a little about their home land back in Dublin, Ireland. When seeing the duck boat tourist attraction drive down Tremont Street outside WERS, they were reminded of the duck boats in Dublin. “We felt very at home!” Paul said. They also spoke about how they recorded Chop Chop very far from their home, yet somewhat close to ours, in Bridgeport, Connecticut. They did the process there mainly to work with producer Peter Katis and Thomas Barlett. It was a fast process, they explained, having completed the album in six short months.
Their next song was “Drive By Summer.” It started with a softly bouncing acoustic guitar line that carried throughout the song, and accompanied by perfectly harmonized vocals and soft piano. The group closed with the last song on Chop Chop, “The End in Nigh.” They finished strong with that track being a faster paced song, mainly played with piano chords and lyrics sung slightly louder and more powerful. Their music brought warmth in to the studio and grabbed the attention of the listeners with their smooth harmonies and melodic piano accompaniment.
The trio headed straight to The Sinclair in Cambridge to do a show with their tourmate Tristen. They will continue on to New York City tomorrow, and make their way to California for the next couple of weeks before flying off the Ireland to continue touring.