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14th November 2013

Interview & Live: Little Green Cars

The Mancunion caught up with Little Green Cars as they soak up their strong Mancunian fan base.

5th November 2013

Ruby Lounge


Dublin-based band Little Green Cars is winding down their UK tour, as well as anticipating a tour in their home country that starts at the end of the month, something that the band members are quite enthusiastic about. Playing back home will be a welcome change given their nonstop touring schedule that has included supporting Jake Bugg last winter, as well as appearances at American festivals Coachella and Lollapalooza, (“Chicago is definitely one of the our favourite places we’ve been”, says bassist Donagh O’Leary of the band’s three visits to the USA) as well as appearing on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.

Surprisingly, none of the band has celebrated more than a 21st band’s appearance on Jimmy Fallon occurred before any of theirs. “The interview appeared an hour after being filmed, and we went to a bar to watch it being aired, except none of us were 21 and we were refused entry until it was apparent we were actually the ones on TV”. “Then we were finally let in and bought loads of whisky,” he adds. When asked to describe their band’s current sound, lead singer Stevie Appleby and guitarist Adam O’Regan confer before coming up with ‘neo-soul-garage-rock’. Really? ‘Well, that sounds pretty cool, anyway’, Appleby laughs.

The label-mates of Mumford & Sons and Two Door Cinema Club again come up with a collusion of different genres when speaking about their influences, which range from folk music to the fact that “our drummer has been listening to a lot of hip-hop”. Their debut album, Absolute Zero, was released in March of this past year, and has been five years in the making. When asked about the extensive period of time between the band’s formation and their debut record, O’Regan states that “we didn’t want to make an album until we thought we were ready. We’ve naturally matured since we were sixteen, seventeen years old”.

The bandmates narrowed down a collection of sixty to seventy demos into the twelve songs that represent Absolute Zero, tracks that span “different places” according to O’Regan, but are all within the same vein. So what has been the response of fans to the individual songs? “It’s always interesting watch the crowd’s reactions to certain songs, and how one person can be smiling when a certain song is played while the person next to them seems sad”. O’Regan and Appleby talk about the time a fan sent them a video clip of ‘the John Wayne’, the band’s first and best known single, as background music to his proposal to his girlfriend. I express surprise at the song choice, given lyrics such as ‘it’s easy to be alone / it’s easy to hate yourself / when all your love is in someone else’. “Yeah, it was a bit strange… maybe that’s why she said no”. They both laugh.

Supporting Little Green Cars on tour are fellow Irish band Bleeding Heart Pigeons, and O’Regan and Appleby are both emphatic about their high regard for the band. Catching the second half of the their set post interview, it’s clear why; as the keyboard-infused pop rock outfit captivates the crowd that’s thus far gathered. And then it’s finally time for Little Green cars to take the stage. The band draws the crowd into the set with two acoustic songs that make evident the five members in-tunement and cohesion with one another (vocals stem from every member). They then launch into more upbeat numbers, and the surprisingly small crowd (barely filling out the stage area of the Ruby Lounge, there’s elbow room for everybody) nods and taps along. When it’s time for Appleby to announce the final song, there’s a chorus of disappointment from the crowd.

Little Green Cars isn’t finished however. In a surprising gesture, midway through the song Appleby instructs as many people as possible to join the band on stage, and I find myself and about two dozen others standing alongside and amidst the band as they sing the final refrain. Little Green Cars then returns to for an encore performance of their song ‘the Consequences of Not Sleeping’, stepping down from the stage and gathering instead within the center of the crowd, where Appleby strums guitar and all the members sing this final love ballad, with members of the crowd joining in.

It’s clear that Little Green Cars, having come a long way already, still have far to go; gestures such as these show how much their fans mean to them, indicative of the fact that the still-grounded band deserve all of the recognition they have thus far achieved.

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