Thus, a mid-week mini road trip sees me head North to the ancient Roman City of Chester for the opening date of meteorically rising outfit Kira Mac on their Downfall Tour.
The Live Rooms, Chester – 17 May 2023
Words: Sophie James
Photography: Jason Samuels
The Latin name for this city was Deva, Goddess of the Dee, and for the unacquainted, please be informed that Kira Mac is a band, not a person, besides which Rhiannon is possibly one of the most engaging and congenial people that you are ever like to meet.
Anyway, on to the show. The general anticipation level had already reached ‘excited’ as the swampy blues intro tape rolled. With so many popular, heavily rotated and catchy tracks available, it was always going to be a question of which one they did roll out first.
By title alone, Hit Me Again was perhaps the obvious choice. Its bubbly bass line, reminiscent of These Wicked Rivers Evergreen, already inviting the less animated to tap their feet or even shuffle.
Latest release Scorned followed. This possesses the same ‘nodability’ as The Crows’ Who Said. It is noticeable just how significant – shhhh!, say it quietly – c&w music has been on her vocal styling. A wonderfully textured tone atop the heavyweight accompaniment.
“Are you ready for a party? This is the first night of the tour after all,” introduced Hell Fire And Holy Water. The mood was buoyant, with Rhiannon radiating sassiness and turning the whirling of that long blond mane into an art form. The first of many fluid solos from Alex and delightful ‘back to back’ choreography from Joe and Brett.
“This is our first time in Chester as a band.” Recalling her previous visit, “Last time I was here, I was busking near the Bus Station. Would await all the hammered punters returning from the races, hoping they’d be generous.” How things have changed. This charming personal experience precluded the new song Farewell. Commencing with a more restrained, Pearl Jam-type vibe before a trademark chorus and the swifter, weightier groove from the second verse.
“This is one you’ll know. The second song we ever wrote together and one of my favourites,” announced Dead Man Walking. Absolutely slaying it live, the hefty execution was complemented by an outstanding solo from Joe. In the corner of my eye, I noticed that merch girl, Eve, was having an absolute ball at her station. Another indicator that they were nailing it.
“This is so new, we only finished the lyrics Monday”. Play The Game is what can best be described as ‘Heavy Country’. Make that very heavy country and is a definite floor-filling booty shaker. Loved it. Moshpit Line Dancing, anyone?
“The next one needs some audience participation. I know it’s a Wednesday. All you got to do is shout ‘Hey’. Follow the boys. They know what to do.” Chaos Is Calling had oodles of dual riffing with a tallicaesque rhythm. “How far can chaos go?” One only has to observe certain associates or current affairs to realise that it is infinite, and hence a song is born.
No Way Out was another newbie. Imagine a pacier Sabbath riff (Loner?) over Y&T’s Dirty Girl groove. Alex’s use of Wah-Wah was most engrossing – You can never have too much Wah-Wah Blackadder.
Back For More has the ‘chaos’ word in it again. One does wonder about the order of things in Kiraville.
“This is the only ballad that we’ve done. We wrote it when we were all so sad.” That said, Never Going To Stay has more vigour than comparable pieces. Nashville meets L.A. while cruising down the Strip with the FM blasting.
Back to the hits. “This time last year, we had like nine monthly listens on Spotify. Today we are at over 20,000. This one is partly responsible for that.” Nothing demonstrates that overt sassiness better than “Mississippi Swingin, got a whiskey sippin’ Honey on my left hand” together with the refrain of “I’m Heading Weeesssssstttt!” Absolfeckinlutely joyous!
“When we came into this industry, we knew it was going to have sharks, but we didn’t realise that it was going to be this bad.” Climbing is just what you imagine an angry song to be like, with caustic lyrics and frenetic delivery. Guess what? ‘Twas another new one.
“When I told people that I was going to pursue a career in the music industry, they said that it would be my Downfall. Wish I had a pound for every time I heard that, but we named this tour after it”. A reelin’ ‘n’ a rollicking heads down dash, down da home straight.
The confused “This is the encore bit” led to yet another fresh composition. “When it gets to the line ‘In the moment that you miss me, kiss my ass and Save your Whiskey’, Sing it with conviction!” That line alone may well make this fuzzy-sounding creation a firm live favourite in the future.
And so to close was One Way Ticket, the song that started it all.
So plucky to include so many new and obviously unfamiliar compositions and not rely on covers to pad out a headlining appearance. When one is in a purple patch of creativity, then why not?
This was an utterly outstanding way to commence a UK Tour. Individually and collectively, the band was already on top form, delivering a surprisingly well-balanced set of crunchy hook-laden songs. The vocals were the colourful sheen above the polished, dynamic arrangements. One shudders to think how tighter and slicker they will become as it rolls on.
With a variety of other rising support acts pencilled in on the remaining dates, do catch them. If you gotta die of something, it might as well be a good time.