Saturday 21 January 2023

The Murder Capital - Dublin Tower Records / Workman's Club - 20th January 2023

Album launch day for Gigi’s Recovery saw two shows in the space of three hours in their home city of Dublin which encapsulated the spirit and highlighted the continued rise of Ireland’s The Murder Capital.

Acoustic? The Murder Capital? That’ll never work. Well, it did. Stripped back to the bare bones we got to experience the most authentic and raw side of the band. The honesty and simplicity actually gave the band a harder edge as they frantically played as if these were their last ever gigs not their first showcasing the magnificent new album.

On a bitterly cold evening hordes of die-hard fans queued outside with vinyl and compact discs in hand. The lucky ones who had secured a place at the in-store were then treated to an electrifying acoustic eight song performance which warmed us up in no time.

The band took to the minuscule stage to the rapturous applause of a very vocal audience. Gabriel and James appearing in shades looking very much the rock and rollers they are. All five with broad smiles on their faces as wide as the River Liffey genuinely touched by the reception they receive.

No matter the size of a stage James owns it. There’s no exception here as the band launch into Ethel. You could be forgiven for thinking how these songs would work acoustically but you sense these songs started out acoustically anyway before developing into full blown songs and Ethel sounds huge. James’ vocals are off the scale. Diarmuid driving the song with Gabriel. Seeing the whites of the eyes of Cathal and Damien and being so close to see their intricate guitar work is a thing of beauty.

Green & Blue still hits the spot. More raw, more intense as the shelving around us threatens to collapse as the amber sisters softly say.

James tells us it feels strange to be playing in the shop where they all do their record shopping before asking if we’ve all listened to it yet. A lone voice informs him not which results in heaps of laughter all round. Always good craic our James.

The Stars Will Leave Their Stage and Crying showcase the new found maturity of the band. Laying themselves bare like this you get to appreciate how good they really are.

Don’t Cling To Life retains that urgency that we have become accustomed to while A Thousand Lives gets the hairs up on the back of the neck. Poignant and heartrending James’ voice soars high and way above those at the back and those positioned twenty flights up the stairs. An expansive room perfect for the far reaching sound despite limited effects. He does apologise for going off kilter with the setlist. Something he admits to doing regularly. The rest laugh it off. Improvisation has always been their thing live.

James emphasises that playing live, playing this record and meeting the fans means everything to them. You know they mean it.

Return My Head is a song for the mosh pits. It’s also a song that takes a new dimension acoustically. Still visceral and punchy with extra zest and power as every verse passes. James apologises for a little laughing outburst as he informs us he’s spooked by the surreal images of Pumpy’s face (Cathal) on a 100” LED screen in the distance.

The good natured element of the gig continues as they close with the colourful Only Good Things leading to a mass singalong resulting in a visibly touched band.

In a flash the gig was over and the lads were kind enough to stay behind and sign hundreds of records despite running a tight schedule. Crowd pleasers, always.

A quick dash to the Workman’s via The Foggy Dew to throw some shapes around proved to be a mistake. Those extra two pints of Guinness meant I missed the opener The Stars Will Leave Their Stage.

Anyway, the Workman’s Cellar. A very intimate venue that gets busy. The mood lighting in their creates an ambience of romance and melancholy. Very much like the band itself.

The lower ceilings and a crammed in expectant crowd are already in full swing. Green & Blue is even more emphatic and forceful than ever. The crowd singing back every word with gusto. The tension in the room as the song ends is insurmountable. Or is it? James telling us this album launch is vastly different to the one at the Button Factory in 2019.

“A thousand lives with you and I won’t be enough” croons James as the crowd sway in unison hanging on every word and every note the band have to offer.

Time to crank it up. Feeling Fades. Acoustic. Let that sink in. Acoustic. It’s sensational. It’s off the scale. Gabe’s earth shattering bass threatens to upset the foundations of the room. How can Diarmuid create such a big sound too? James threatens to launch into the crowd. He can’t though. This is acoustic. The sentiment is there though. You know he wants to but he’ll get in trouble with the band probably. The “la la” shout remains as powerful as ever. We flow together, they keep us all together before leading us into Crying.

“Wait for it, I’m asking for a friend” asks James. A force of nature encapsulated by the hard hitting nature of the lyrics. Crying is such a beautiful song but the most brutal and beautiful of their songs was to follow and yes that tension I mentioned earlier was now definitely about to be insurmountable.

On Twisted Ground demonstrated how beautifully the old songs mix in with the new. This must go down as one of their most devastatingly beautiful performances of the track I’ve ever heard. You could hear a pin drop in the audience. “Not a breath of a wind, but a final gasp” the audience in utter awe. The band utterly magnificent in their delivery. James whistling the ending with a warble and a chirp before final gasps. The band visibly shook, everything still hurts and they, like us, can’t forget the past but they have to move on and paint brighter pictures since coming out the other side.

Return My Head, Ethel and Don’t Cling To Life up the tempo once more. Damien and Cathal incessantly driving the sound forwards. No respite. No time to dwell. The drums and bass rattling the bones in your body with a vociferous fired up James getting more and more animated with each and every chorus, every verse, every song. This band make you feel alive. They make you feel like you exist and you’re not here just for existence.

Only Good Things (again) gets the crowd mouthing every word back just like the record store show just a few hours earlier. An ear worm that threatens to elevate the lads to the next level.

An emotional Gigi’s Recovery concludes a remarkable couple of shows. I shut my eyes and I lose myself one last time on this emotional rollercoaster. I think of my own (and my loved ones) trials and tribulations and take it all in just like the capacity crowd do too. A deeply personal connection between band and audience just hit a new level. The outro mantra of “Gigi, you never left me” with the deep vocal with deep meaning resonating on so many levels. A thunderous applause and gracious thanks from this righteous band conclude a very special show that will go down in history once they become one of the biggest bands in the world.

If you haven’t purchased Gigi’s Recovery yet then please do. Give yourself the chance to witness the acoustic version of these beautiful songs old and new. Emotionally these songs are not watered down. Sonically they sound even harder edged because the emotion, the honesty, the love from this band shines through. It takes a very special band to possess that quality. Long live, long love, The Murder Capital.

The Murder Capital's official site can be found here and they are on Facebook and Twitter.

To support the album release they have a series of in-store and out-store performances at Kingston Pryzm (January 21), Southampton Vinilo (22, 12pm), Brighton Resident Records (22, 6.30pm), London Rough Trade East (23), Manchester Piccadilly Records (24, 1pm), Leeds Crash Records (24, 5pm) and Nottingham Rough Trade (25)

They tour in February at Antwerp Trix Club (February 4), Cologne Luxor (5), Hamburg Molotow (6), Berlin Lido (8), Munich Hansa 39 (9), Strasbourg La Laiterie (11), Paris Le Trabendo (13), Amsterdam Paradiso (14), Manchester Albert Hall (16), Glasgow SWG3 (18), Leeds Stylus (20), Birmingham The Mill (21), London O2 Kentish Town Forum (23), Bristol The Marble Factory (24) and Dublin Vicar Street (26) before heading to the US and Canada in March and April.


Follow Even The Stars on Twitter at @eventhestarsuk and like our Facebook page for all the latest updates

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