wed 08/04/2020

The Murder Capital, QMU, Glasgow review - Dublin outfit find catharsis through pummelling songs | reviews, news & interviews

The Murder Capital, QMU, Glasgow review - Dublin outfit find catharsis through pummelling songs

The Murder Capital, QMU, Glasgow review - Dublin outfit find catharsis through pummelling songs

Slow-burning set builds to a thumping conclusion

The Murder Capital, ready for a night outGavin Ovoca

It might have been 24 hours after Valentine’s Day, but James McGovern still seemed to have a touch of romance in his head. At one stage during the Murder Capital’s bruising set he referenced his floral-patterned shirt as evidence that he was feeling the spirit of the previous day, and perhaps that should not surprise, for the Murder Capital are a band with plenty of heart.

It might have been 24 hours after Valentine’s Day, but James McGovern still seemed to have a touch of romance in his head. At one stage during the Murder Capital’s bruising set he referenced his floral-patterned shirt as evidence that he was feeling the spirit of the previous day, and perhaps that should not surprise, for the Murder Capital are a band with plenty of heart.

They are also an outfit with intelligence, both in their songs and in the clever way the Dublin fivesome structured this gig. The first half possessed intensity but mostly of the slow burning sort, a tension that you felt was building towards an explosion. That duly arrived in a second half that provided catharsis by way of pummelling, danceable songs, a way of unleashing the pressure that had been growing.

It is all funnelled through McGovern. The opening visceral bark of “More Is Less” saw him descend into the crowd and perform amongst the faithful, while late on the ferocious “For Everything” saw the frontman spotlighted like a preacher commanding his flock, the music a potent mixture of post-punk rhythm and Bad Seeds menace behind him.

Yet it is the emotion that is the hook. He sings with a feeling that hits you between the eyes and in the heart, a striking, plaintive voice that runs through life, death and why we’re here with either an angry roar or a softer murmuring. No matter the style it is a voice to believe in, whether coming on top of the hazy guitars of “Slowdance 1”, which ended with McGovern and bassist Gabriel Blake doing just that, or the urgent drive that propelled their most dancefloor friendly tune “Don’t Cling To Life” near the gig’s end, a mosh pit kicking off in the crowd as it swept in.

Not all were as receptive, though. “On Twisted Ground”, about a friend who committed suicide, was preceded by McGovern referencing the need for people to look out for each other, before a quiet piece of guitar playing began to build the song up. That stark quietness clearly didn’t impress everyone, seeing as the atmosphere was initially diluted by chatter from one individual, no matter the chorus of shushing it provoked.

But the band can hardly be blamed for errant audience members on a Saturday night, and their own material was powerful and potent. After 50 minutes it reached a suitably emphatic conclusion on a muscular version of “Feeling Fades”, with the closing crises of “la, la”  a riotous climax . By this point McGovern had gone for a spot of crowd surfing, with the singer blowing kisses to the audience upon its ending. It’s a romance that could last.

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