Rock it like a Hot Sprocket, they tell us (careful now).
Born out of time and with all the right haircuts to match, Dubliner Tim Cullen and his comrades have been rockin' it as Sprockets for quite a while. We remember 'em at college parties. We borrowed the first releases. Together, we've been waiting for the big-time to call. 2014 was the year where it almost happened. Almost.
"Two records in one year, baby!" declares a bearded Wayne Soper from centre-stage. Too right. Not only did the Hot Sprockets gift us with a second album (the brilliantly-titled Brother Nature), they also found time to release an EP, too. Tonight's Vicar Street hooley is more a seasonal party, then - a riotous thank-you to friends, families and fans for sticking by and making Brother Nature a top-20 record in Ireland.
Indeed, it's on a stage where co-vocalists, axe-grinders and rock 'n' roll dynamos Tim and Wayne go out of their way to justify the hype. You may have heard the infectious Crusin' in a bank advertisement. Cracking number - these boys know their way around a chorus. It's one thing to bring the noise; it's another to incorporate some melody into proceedings. The Hot Sprockets do both. Some of the bluesier offerings don't stick as well as they should, but give them time.
Soul Brother kicks us in the gut. It's lively on the floor, too (bassist Joey Lynch just about dodges a set of flying Christmas tree lights). The sprockets keep it old-school, then - urgent, powerful and boisterous. This is how Kings of Leon should look and sound. They write songs with titles like Dimestore Cowboy. They occasionally adopt American accents. The Hot Sprockets rock hard and, with a bit of luck, 2015 could be theirs for the taking.