Monday 6 February 2023

The Murder Capital - Cologne Luxor - 5th February 2023

The Murder Capital’s time is now. Strap yourself in for the ride because 2023 is going to be their year as they conquer every town and city in Ireland, the rest of Europe, the United Kingdom and, significantly, America.

Playing their longest sets to date expectant audiences all over the world are going to feel the exhilaration, the joy and the despair of a Murder Capital gig and it’s something they’re never going to ever forget.

Cologne’s Luxor was the scene for night two of their latest European tour and James declared it was “even wilder than last nights show in Antwerp”. The appreciative audience roaring their approval from start to finish of this emotional rollercoaster.

A seventeen song set of old and new blended perfectly into a concoction of various emotions that can only be relayed over to an audience if you’ve lived them and boy have this band lived them during the life of this incredible band.

Now I ran out of superlatives for this band a long long time ago but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to continue championing a band that tugs at the heartstrings and delivers deeply personal and emotive messages to old and new supporters. The mix of youth and those of an older age in the crowd and down the front is a joy to behold. The mosh pit is generally wild but this heedful audience look out for each other. Very much the message that the band like to portray.

Playing everything off the new album Gigi’s Recovery, apart from the bookended Existence and Exist, the new songs, which many doubted would have an impact live, are vibrant, edgy, enthralling and exquisite in equal measure. The crowd reaction coupled with the look on the faces of all band members to our reaction is a moment captured many times throughout the set and one that will last forever from both sides.

A pre-recorded intro of Existence only hypes up the crowd further in anticipation of what’s to come. The cologne of The Murder Capital is very much in the air and this whiff of excitement explodes as Damien, Diarmuid, Cathal and Gabe take to the stage. Decibels rise further on the emergence of James. Looking every much the rock and roll star he and his brothers very much are.

Crying explodes into life swirling and pulling us in all directions with James telling us “It’s all one take” while A Thousand Lives with its “Beside you I die to exist” proclamation is heartfelt, sincere and poignant.

More Is Less is its usual full frontal assault attacking the mind, body and soul of the crowd in this tiniest, packed out of venues. James teetering on the barrier, held aloft, no one’s letting him, or this band, fall by the wayside and into Green And Blue with no time to breathe. Squalling guitars, that rumbling hard hitting bass and that outro. A wall of noise accompanied by a drum solo that continues to defy belief.

The iconic Love, Love, Love sees fists clenched. They’re up for this latest battle. It’s sandwiched between the stylish and groove laden We Had To Disappear and the haunting, expressive and eerie Belonging. Like many times in the set there are personal moments between band on stage captured and projecting an image that any adversity thrown at them will always be tackled head on and resolved to the best of their abilities.

The Lie Becomes The Self is fast becoming a live favourite. The seamless transition in dark and light throughout the song very much reflected in the mood lighting creating the ambience that keeps the crowd constantly engaged. You simply can’t take your eyes off the quintet. The celebration continuing with the trigger happy Only Good Things carrying us, and the band, along with a wave of emotion.

That wave turns into a tsunami with a ferocious Feeling Fades. The barrier threatening to give way, the roof hinting it may possibly cave in, James holding on tightly to anyone that can but he needn’t worry. There are plenty of disciples ensuring he floats out to the middle of the pit before wriggling, writhing and seemingly levitating back to the stage.

The dramatic The Stars Will Leave Their Stage and emotive Gigi’s Recovery are very much on point. James having the ability to make any individual in that room his focus off attention. Winks, holding of hands, conversations with individuals, genuine care and love all resulting in those in that room thinking his gestures are made for them and them alone. A very special gift from the most special of frontmen. But then the delight too as you look around. People hugging, holding each other, sharing that joy with each other. All this thanks to this band who thrive off each other and their audience and they don’t ever let us forget that.

On Twisted Ground is a song that James declares they feel is one that enables them to “express themselves more freely than any other” and tonight is no different. A song that is never the same each time you listen to it. Tonight is one of mixed emotions. There are people crying, others dumbfounded but each and every one in that respectful crowd take some spiritual healing from the experience. Personally it’s the first time I simply can’t look at any of the band. I stare blankly, numb, at the feet of Gabe as various painful experiences of love and loss flash before my tightly closed eyes. The relief is there for all as the song ends with the most deafening of roars and a lot of teary eyes.

The final trio of a rip roaring Return My Head, with James throwing himself to the crowd, an emotionally stirring Don’t Cling To Life with its short sharp bursts of exhilarating joy and desperation, and the sensational and exquisite Ethel, which feels like a triumph amidst the delirium of a swathe of bodies, it felt like an accomplishment that the band had yet again somehow made it through to the other side of yet another test to their resolve. Stronger than ever. Better than ever.

As the lights came up on the packed audience there was a feeling of euphoria and full recognition that the band have matured into a new animal. Bolder, braver and more beautiful than ever before. Confidence is sky high. They are simply masters of their trade. More assured than ever, sounding like they’re ready to take on the world. I wouldn’t bet against it.

The Murder Capital’s time is now.

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

They tour in February at Hamburg Molotow (February 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.


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