Sunday 12 November 2023

The Murder Capital / Teeth Machine - Liverpool Invisible Wind Factory - 11th November 2023

The Murder Capital continued their Clown's Reflection tour on Saturday night at the Invisible Wind Factory with a set taken heavily from their second album Gigi's Recovery as well as older favourites from their debut When I Have Fears supported by Teeth Machine.

Teeth Machine open the evening with a fascinating set of subtle experimentation that builds and flourishes into songs. More traditional vocals from Gray fuse with Ciara's effects-laden vocals to create intoxicating swirls that are fleshed out by the band and not even technical difficulties can disrupt the positive impression they leave on a crowd that starts as a few dozen and finishes with a half-full room by the time they come to the end of their set half an hour later. The spirit of their music is unsettling, one minute washing over and round you, the next taking more conventional song structures and fusing the two in something that feels different from the norm.

This is the second tour The Murder Capital have done this year for Gigi's Recovery and their first visit to Liverpool since they headlined Sound City in 2021. They've taken time to restore the momentum they had as their first US tour on the back of an incendiary UK run with sold-out dates everywhere came crashing down to earth as the pandemic struck, impacting them probably more than any of their contemporaries. Gigi's Recovery took time for them to craft as they rebuilt the band from the ground up and set about the nigh-impossible task of following the darkest most intense and personal debut album for years. Early live outings for the songs betrayed an initially uneasy fit between old and new, yet as The Murder Capital come to the end of this second run for Gigi's Recovery they've sewn the two records together and have formed a more expansive magical version of the band without losing the intensity.

The songs from Gigi's Recovery - and all of them are present in the set tonight except for the intro and outro Exist and Existence - feel expansive, the band stretching them far beyond the boundaries of their recorded versions, revealing new depth and beauty. Opener The Stars Will Leave Their Stage, The Lie Becomes The Self, Crying and We Have To Disappear have a brooding tension coursing through them rather than the pure adrenaline that rips through the room on Ethel and Return My Head, the two singles released closest to the album release. Only Good Things and A Thousand Lives, the album's first singles, make perfect sense now after being a curveball when set live into the world without the context of the album whilst the title track's repeated refrain as the music drops out sees them command the attention of the crowd like performing magic.

New single Heart In The Hole suggests that their willingness to experiment with their sound live, to loosen the shackles of the recorded versions has made its way into the studio as well and bodes well for their future; a progression rather than simply churning out more of the same. 

The older songs fight their corner. More Is Less and Don't Cling To Life see the room reduced to a moshpit of bodies throwing themselves round in a head rush. On Twisted Ground, all nine minutes of it, is full of dark foreboding remorse at the death of one of their closest friends and inspirations, and when the crowd are silenced by the intensity of the emotion and the rather strange rowing actions of some of the audience who've sat down on the floor in the middle of the crowd stop, it's a chilling raw and heartbreaking eulogy. For Everything builds and builds and threatens to collapse under the weight of its own momentum as the audience sing back the simple refrain "for everything, for nothing" until James comes back and stops it dead. Best of all is Green And Blue, held together by the powerful wild drumming of Diarmuid, the glue that holds everything together. There's a few moments where everything else drops out and it's just him left and we could watch him play solo all night such is the mesmerising impact he has. 

They finish on Feeling Fades, their debut single, the intro turned almost into a playful nursery rhyme by James as they draw back the trigger before releasing one final blast across the bows of the Liverpool crowd who are now completely immersed in the set. He encourages the band to "get loose" as they improvise the final section of the song, but it's something The Murder Capital have done all night. They've answered the question of where they could go next after When I Have Fears emphatically over the course of 2023. They might not be the most commercially successful of the new wave of bands, but they're the most interesting, complex and enthralling. The evolution has not been compromised.

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

Teeth Machine are on Facebook and Twitter.


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