Noise Annoys: Gnarkats' Assisi NI benefit a doggone impressive initiative
In this week's exciting instalment, Belfast trio Gnarkats are quizzed about tonight's special benefit gig in aid of Assisi Animal Sanctuary
WELCOME back to Noise Annoys, the music column where cats and dogs are held in equally high esteem and those who neglect or abuse animals of any and all descriptions are regarded as the lowest of the low.
As the personal slave of Lola, one-eyed bionic rescue cat and official Noise Annoys mascot (favourite band: Bury St Edmunds trio Jacob's Mouse), it always pleases me to hear of anyone going out of their way to support the good work of our local animal sanctuaries, which take in discarded pets and give them a second chance at finding a 'forever home'.
Best of all, even those unfortunate critters who aren't successfully re-homed get to live out the rest of their days in cared-for comfort, thanks to the efforts of volunteer workers who give up their time in order to keep these shelters running.
Thus, when local alt-rock trio Gnarkats announced they were going to play a special benefit show for the wonderful Assisi Animal Sanctuary in Co Down, it was a no-brainer to get in touch with Jordan, Stuart and Louis to discuss the gig, which takes place tonight at McHugh's in Belfast.
In case you're unfamiliar with the 'kats, their Waves Collide EP was declared to be "an intriguing debut" by yours truly back in 2016, while last year's excellent single Something To Say enthused me enough to describe it as "a nice slice of melodic grungepop" that "kind of sounds like a cross between Sebadoh and Belfast's own prog-fuzzers Chocolate Love Factory [RIP]".
Anyway, the gist is that Gnarkats were already a good up and coming band: tonight's Assisi benefit show means they can now legitimately add 'all-round kind-hearted dudes' to their CV.
Here's what these three animal-loving types had to say for themselves.
Hello Gnarkats, please state your name and primary Gnarkats function.
Hey! Jordan plays guitar, Stuart plays drums and sings, and Louis plays bass and sings.
How did tonight's benefit show for Assisi Animal Sanctuary come about and who will be your support band on the night?
We have talked for a while about doing a charity gig, we wanted to put on our own show and thought this was the time to do it.
Stuart straight away wanted to do it for Assisi and we thought it was fitting to do so. Our support band will be N/A, who have played with us before.
How many pets do the members of Gnarkats serve between them?
Louis has a cat called Floyd which was named after Pink Floyd. Stuart has a dog called Archie, he also had three cats named Zoomer, Scamper and Marmite.
Gnarkats is a great band name – who came up with it?
We played our first gig under the name New Age Gnarly, but the name developed into Gnarkats from our love of cats!
How long have the band been together now and how did you form?
We have been a band for about two-and-a-half years now, it's crazy how time has flown in! Me and Stuart met on an HND Music course and Louis was a friend of a friend.
Are there any local acts who have been particularly influential/helpful to Gnarkats along the way?
Yeah there are a few who have influenced us, especially And So I Watch You From Afar and Mojo Fury! Some other local acts we’ve enjoyed playing with are Junk Drawer and Rebekah Fitch.
Do you have any new material coming out soon?
Yeah! News of a new single will be announced very soon. One of Jordan’s favourite bands are The Answer. He got to know Paul Mahon [Answer guitar shredder] and just asked him one night would he be interested in producing and recording us, as they'd built a studio to record their Solas album.
So we got to work with Paul in their studio which was awesome! Paul has done a class job, he had some amazing input into the tracks and got great performances out of us.
We are very proud of these tracks and can’t wait to share them!
Favourite/least favourite gigs to date and what is your favourite Gnarkats song to play live?
Our favourite gigs to date would be Black Box on Culture Night 2017 for Old Fang’s party – it was amazing. Also the first time we played Donegan’s in Bangor.
Our favourite song to play live is Sorry off our Waves Collide EP ["an epic, slow-building number with definite post-rock leanings featuring festival crowd-friendly 'woah-woah' vocals and samples from It's A Wonderful Life", I think you'll find].
It always gets a good reaction.
You’re asked to curate Gnarkatsfest, choosing only Gnarkats-approved/endorsed bands who also have animal-inspired/related names: Who’s playing?
Arctic Monkeys, Eagles of Death Metal, Cage The Elephant, Gorillaz and us!
If you could open for any band in the world, who would it be and why?
Queens of The Stone Age. They are a band that the three of us collectively love and they seem like awesome guys.
What is Gnarkats’ ultimate ambition?
A headline world tour would be insane, including a stop at Glastonbury.
Well, there you have it. Tonight's show at McHugh's is set to kick off at 8.30pm, with N/A on at 9pm and Gnarkats headlining at 10pm.
Admission is £5, all of which goes to Assisi, who will also have donation buckets at the merch table for those feeling extra generous.
What with all the weather that's happening out there at the moment, it's probably worth checking social media like FB.com/gnarkats and @gnarkats on Twitter just to be doubly, triply sure the show is still going ahead.
On the off-chance it doesn't happen due to road closures, burst pipes or the onset of the next Ice Age, do be sure to make a donation to Assisi regardless at Assisi-ni.org – they could also use any old duvets and blankets you have lying around to help keep their doggies warm during the cold snap.
Make the most of your electricity supply before the grid goes down by surfing over to Gnarkats.bandcamp.com and blasting some tunes while you pony up.
THIS WEEK'S MOST ANNOYING NOISES – CATS & DOGS EDITION
I Wanna Be Your Dog – Stooges
Black Dog – Led Zeppelin
Genocide (Dog Eat Dog) – Offspring
Salty Dog – Cat Power
I Love My Dog – Cat Stevens
Catwoman – The Wedding Present
Cats in A Bowl – Dinosaur
The Lovecats – The Cure
Cool For Cats – Squeeze
Cat Scratch Fever – Ted Nugent