Oppenheimer have returned to blustery Norn Iron for a domestic tour. I caught 2 shows: a blistering performance at premier alternative club Stiff Kitten in Belfast and a not-so-well-recieved show at sea-side tavern, The Square Peg in Warrenpoint.
Both sets were pretty much identical featuring an evenly split mix of old classics and songs from the band's latest (and superb) album "Take The Whole Midrange And Boost It". Part of the appeal of Oppenheimer's live shows is the sheer charisma of the Belfast duo. Guitarist Rocky flails about their usually small stages with his enormous light-up guitar and sarcastically banters with drummer Shawn Robinson through his voice-changer microphone. Shawn on the otherhand, is a calm, soft-spoken man who lends a unique innocent charm to many of the band's songs.
In Stiff kitten, the band were immediately at home. A slight technical failure during the first song, "My Son, The Astronaut" was taken in stride with the band holding a light-hearted vote as to which song they should play. Highlights included a fantastic, energetic rendition of "Saturday Night Looks Bad To Me" from their debut album and the free gift of a 7" vinyl containing their new single.
In Warrenpoint however, the band played to an audience so tepid and braindead they may as well not have shown up. The Square Peg is infamous for its tolerance of underage drinking and as such the place was filled with idiotic drunken 15 year olds and cheeky country bumpkins who hadn't a clue who was on stage. This wasnt the case for too long as a police raid soon emptied the bar leaving only a dozen or so people to watch the band finish their set. One guy at the front messed with Rocky's equipent leading to short flare of rage from the Oppenheimer guitarist and an angry walk into the crowd, his guitar flying wildly. Professionalism won out and in the end, he returned to the stage and continued to play. I genuinely felt sorry for them. They deserve bigger and better crowds than this.
Support at Stiff Kitten was provided by The Dudley Corporation (decent) and Not Squares (so bad they should be locked in a box and thrown into the ocean).
@ Stiff Kitten: **** (4/5)
@ Square Peg: ** (2/5) - NOTE: This is not the band's fault. It was the audience & the venue.