Photos by Sarah Dorman

I've had a speight of bad luck at gigs this year. The basic rule of thumb that I now apply is that the more I enjoy a gig, the more serious the misfortune that I will face. It's got to so bad that it's making me not want to see bands that I know I'm going to enjoy. It all started at the Sea of Bees gig down at the Wilmington Arms in February, where after being dumbstruck by one of my standout live performances of the year, I floated out of the venue only to discover that my bike had been stolen. Now while last night's performance by Cashier No. 9 didn't quite match the brilliance of Jules' show, it was still very good indeed and upon leaving the HB&K I wondered what misfortune I would encounter this time. The bike again. Not stolen this time. A puncture. Not many bike shops are open at 2300 and I'm not the kind of person to carry a puncture repair kit with me. Luckily enough it was a pleasant evening and the walk home gave me the chance to reflect on what had been a splendid evening capped by a very impressive and confident 40 minute set by the Belfast six-piece.

Joining them on the line-up were midlands alt-folk outfit Goodnight Lenin and the focus of our recent tour diary here on the 405, The Epstein. Goodnight Lenin were decent enough, they interacted with the crowd really well and played some very agreeable country-tinged Folk. It's not their fault but I feel totally overwhelmed with the folk scene at the moment and haven't the energy or enthusiasm to adopt another harmony ridden five-piece. The Epstein followed up shortly after and having not heard them before I was intrigued to see what they had to offer. They were bloody great, captivating. Their tightly woven vocals, warm melodies and enthused delivery kept me locked in and tapping my foot throughout. They ended with 'Leave Your Light On', a haunting and beautiful track which completed a fantastic showcase of their range: from upbeat bluesy rock to campfire sing a long folk. Definitely ones to watch.

Have a read of their tour diary here.

On to the main event and by now a very packed HB&K. We randomly nestled in next to a group of Irish guys, some of whom had been to school with the band. Their familiarity with the songs and half-cut dancing adding to the experience. Opening up with the Goldstar, which was released as a single earlier this year, Cashier No. 9 unleash their vibrant sound, packed with sparkling summery keyboards, kettle drums, joyous harmonica and the groups lush West Coast harmonies. Led by Danny Todd and his flamboyant vertical guitar stance they played a number of other tracks from the new album (To The Death of Fun), the smooth shuffle of To Make You Feel Better, the jangly, psychedelic Lost At Sea with its supreme rolling rhythms and the super catchy California-drenched Flick of the Wrist. A special mention to Wally, who, donning a red waistcoat and packed with bundles of presence played harmonica like he was born with one in his mouth, very impressive.

Bringing the proceedings to a close was When Jackie Shone, a joyous harmonica and bongo beefheart extravaganza which had our native neighbours attempting all sorts of ramshackle dance moves. It capped a confident, professional and entertaining performance, and I'll be lucky to see these guys in such an intimate setting in the future.

I caught up with Daniel Todd after the show for a few quick questions.

I was really impressed with the show tonight, it was lots of fun, particularly as we were nestled in with some guys that went to school with you. Have you been playing the new songs a lot recently as it came across as very polished.

Cool, glad you had fun. The album has been finished for about 7/8 months now, so yeah we've been playing these songs for a while, but it's taken that amount of time to figure out how to play them live. Some of the tracks on the album have maybe 100 overdubs on them so recreating it live can be quite a challenge.


Tell me about the recording process for the album. You worked with David Holmes didn't you? How was that?

Amazing, was a bit of a dream to get David onboard to produce. It was mostly recorded in Belfast in his home studio, but we went to Los Angeles and did a drum parts and some overdubs there in a studio in Laurel Canyon. You can definitely hear that west coast vibe on the record from being there. We used old gear to get that sound and mixed it through a beautiful old desk that's had Neil Young, the Byrds, T Rex, all run through it. So yeah recording the record was a bit like Jim'll Fix It for Cashier no.9.

How would you respond to comparisons made between yourself and the Stone Roses?

I don't really hear it personally, they were a great band but I don't think we sound that like them.