McHughes Basement


While the week between Christmas and New Year  is often reserved for guiltless lounging about and easy-watching boxsets, a certain postpunk outfit had alternative ideas.

They go by ‘L-Plate’, (which you have to admit is a fantastic name) with the guts of the band are from Belfast and a Glaswegian frontwoman and bassist Mirren McTavish, all purveyors of high-energy postpunk and concessioners of hefty distortions.

They choose McHughes basement in Belfast to be their first-ever headline show and kicked it off by welcoming some of the local sonic cuisines to open. First, the commanding sounds of Disorder, followed by a sensationally groovy performance by Moonboot, that had the joint pulsing to their funk-flavoured originals and covers of Mac DeMarco.

After a mandatory smoke and swall break, murmurs of the headline acts’ arrival on stage spread. The sights of Belfast natives Louis Cannet on lead guitar, Tyrone Napier on rhythm guitar and bass,  Owen Murphy on drums and McTavish spearheading the group were met with warm festive cheers. They’re a young band that really looks pretty cool, so I was hoping that the stylish appearance translated into a fitting performance - and they really couldn’t have delivered a better introduction.

They instantly won the crowd over with ‘Nausea’, a stomping anthem that was a real statement of intent. They went on to channel drones and heavy rhythms throughout the setlist, with follow-ups like ‘Hang Me Loose’, ‘Alright’ and ‘Idle Idols’ cemented them as promising live performers with really solid original tunes.

The pace was pretty constant throughout the gig as a band that seem well glued together already, Murphy’s drums raged when needed and softened up for Napier or Cannet to come in with some fuzzy notes - all while McTavish commanded the stage with her sensational voice.

They also worked in a rendition of powerhouse vocalist Amy Winehouse’s ‘Back to Black’ which ticked the ‘making it your own’ box required of a great cover. They gave the crowd something to sing along to, while also demonstrating their musical style. Slow when they wanted to build tension but always powerful in their delivery.

They left the stage with a room full of new fans, having just brought that small venue a spectacle reminiscent of what people must have witnessed in the early days of Sonic Youth or the Velvet Underground. Safe to say, I’m very excited to see where L-Plate end up.

Catch L-Plate play King Tut’s  on the 19th of January
Tickets HERE