Artist: Cutaways Venue: Buffalo bar @ Highbury and Islington Link: www.myspace.com/cutaways The Buffalo Bar is immediately noticeable upon exiting Highbury Islington tube station; a small staircase as you enter takes you down to the cozy basement bar where you’ll find a Sopranos pinball machine, a small seating section, and tonight, the venue for a mostly unheard-of Dublin band called Cutaways. Eager to start, first support Ono Palindromes displayed some imagination and a tight delivery but were overall uninspiring. The most memorable aspect of their set was the keyboardists sparkly coat. I would recommend (if they ever asked me) hanging strong to their rockier moments, their dalliances with dissonance especially, as it was in those moments they shined brighter than aforementioned coat. Following closely behind was Lonely Ghosts. Great name, great stage presence, but the wobbly and weak croonings of the vocalist undermined their other strengths. After a few songs they turned up the heat a little, settling into shouted vocals and a much more suited vocal style. One thing that did set this band apart was possibly best banter I’ve heard in a long time, in particular their approach to getting the crowd to edge further towards the stage and out of the shadows. Of note also was guitarist saying ‘We’re really glad to be here’ to which the bassist replied ‘Well, I’ve got much better things I could be doing’ - the band could sideline in stand up duo it seems! And then, the Cutaways. Whilst setting up drummer Ryan was seen carrying two large cardboard cutouts (see what they did there..?) of cartoon chicks, a tantalizing precursor to the quirkiness to come. Unassuming, vocalist and guitarist Paul made a brief introduction before launching into ‘Weapon of Choice’, the second track from their soon-to-be-released album ‘Earth and Earthly Things’. Let’s make no bones about it, Cutaways are special. Charisma positively radiates from the three piece, and their set opener was perfectly calculated. It opens unexpectedly enough, with wobbly synth and bouncy guitar hits paving the way for a drum and bass back drop to the intro vocals. Then, after a few guitar bridges and a quick snare roll, we’re awash in a massive chorus, catchy and climactic. ‘I belong on your doorstep, you belong on my mind’ is squawked a few times, and then again - that chorus! It says much about drummer Ryan that a crescendo so satisfying can come from only a three piece, that it does. I got the feeling, whilst tapping my feet fervently and nodding my head like a deranged jack-in-the-box, that this band would really benefit from a bigger stage, possibly a bassist, and definitely a bigger, more receptive crowd to draw their most heart-felt performance. This was a headlining act who were tight, modest, great, but most of all who reeked of soon-to-be-tapped potential. Earth and Earthly Things is on general release June 3rd - Look out for the Album review soon!