Tuesday 5 March 2024

The Murder Capital - London Moth Club - 28th February 2024

Make no mistake about it, The Murder Capital’s journey to the very top is getting closer and world domination may just be around the corner if their latest offerings are fully taken onboard by the potential new fan base they may capture when supporting Pearl Jam in the not so distant future.

Tonight’s Moth Club show in London offered them the opportunity to showcase and road test new material from their forthcoming third album and it’s safe to say the future seems very bright given the quality of the new songs and the thrilling audience reaction to them too.

For me The Murder Capital have always possessed that spontaneity and rawness to their performances so this one-off sold out in minutes gig was always going to be something special and the Irish rockers didn’t disappoint.

The air of anticipation in hearing the new songs was heightened further on arrival at the intimate venue with the setlist dotted about on a number of walls giving us a teaser of what was to come. It immediately sparked conversations between friends old and new. 

Seven new tracks in a fourteen song set certainly raised a few eyebrows with many favourites being omitted from the set. This is The Murder Capital though and the evolution will still not be compromised. They are clearly comfortable in their own skin, fiercely ambitious, hungry, authentic and refusing to rest on their laurels.

The stage is barely big enough to accommodate this quintet anymore and as the lights dim they saunter on stage to a rapturous applause still looking like the coolest band on the fucking planet.

Death Of A Giant opens proceedings. A brave move starting with a new one but this band don’t do things conventionally. It’s a high octane number engulfed with trademark guitars and high tempo drums. James’ clenched delivery amidst rippling guitar chords elevates the song to another level. Simply sublime.

With no time to breathe and take it all in the band launch into the incendiary For Everything. It’s a brutal, stirring and thought provoking song that has lost none of its power to punch you in the guts and floor you. The band embrace the theatre that this song, like many others, calls for. The energy and spark between the adored and the adorers accentuates with the back and forth bellowing of “For everything, for nothing” until it reaches its climactic ending when both parties are left breathless and on our knees.

A Thousand Lives has lost none of its mercurial charm and it tugs at the heartstrings. James McGovern serenades us “Crystals forming on your cheeks my love, A thousand lives with you and I won’t be enough”. His thirst for romance is infectious. The swirling synths, intoxicating beats and effects laden guitars open up your mind to all sorts of possibilities. This is a trait only the truly special bands possess.

The groovy and anthemic Words Lost Meaning is huge sounding. This is big music for a band with the potential to be the biggest. This may well be the song that catapults them to the moon and back. Yet again James delivers words so beautiful and enchanting that you can only just marvel at the lyrical genius. Written from experience and already in the psyche of the listener the words hit home “Ohhhh I never need you to say I love you, the words lost meaning” he rasps. The song is an immediate ear worm and the adoring masses are already singing the words back. Magical.

The band seamlessly transition into The Stars Will Leave Their Stage and Crying. Both exceptional tunes from the magnificent Gigi’s Recovery album. The former sees James, arms aloft, reaching for the skies, the stars even, heightening the tension and drama of the song. It’s a song that ebbs and flows with intricacies and nuances and you can’t but help try to take it all in as your eyes wander from one band member to another in quick succession just to see what is actually going on.

The same can be said for the beautiful Crying. A song based on the love of a true friendship and being there for that person no matter what. An important message which the band are keen to promote.

Big D (Diarmuid Brennan) is one of the best drummers in the business. He never misses a beat and he’s a powerhouse. Cathal Roper and Damien Tuit are pure artists painting pictures with their wizardry on guitars and synths alike. Both are very expressive on stage and their ability to make sonic mayhem will blow your mind. Gabriel Paschal Blake’s menacing demeanour fits with the strength of his bass playing as the bass pulsates adrenaline and it runs through the veins of this band. Every rumble of that bass even in the balletic moments is felt just as much as the emotive vocal.

Safe Sound, another new track, is an experimental and brooding slow burner. Building up in momentum into a cacophony of noise you find yourself lost in the moment meandering down an unknown path before taking a sharp and unexpected turn. 

The same can be said of Can’t Pretend To Know. Reflective and repetitive yet mesmerising it might be the new The Murder Capital but it’s still unmistakably them - captivating, alluring, progressive and exceptional. 

Heart In The Hole, their first new material after Gigi’s Recovery is both energising and fresh. The band’s lust for life evident in four minutes of raucous mayhem down the front as the crowd bounce and collide in unison. It feels like a community spirit within the pit. Everyone looking after each other and maintaining the ethos of the band.

The urgency of Don’t Cling To Life takes it up another notch. The opening chords of the song a battle cry to rejoice, embrace, seize the moment and live it. While empathetic there’s a certain vivid emotional quality to James and the rest of the band as they take the song to even more emotional levels. Charismatic and passionate as ever it’s hard not to hang off every word the enigmatic frontman says.

There’s a Stooges/MC5 influence to The Fall. They kick out the jams with tenacious conviction. The dynamism of the song shining brightly through with James declaring “the fall is coming, it’s always coming”. It’s old fashioned rock and roll and it pummels you into submission.

Ethel is very much a song for the ages. A mass singalong ensues full of fervour and ecstasy and it’s clear for all to see that the band know that this is one of the songs of any generation. There were many who felt they’d deviated too much from the dark side of the masterpiece that was When I Have Fears but if they hadn’t then this anthem would never have come to light. A firm fan favourite I imagine this will remain in the set for years to come. “Hold on to her tight” and never let this song go lads.

A Distant Life sees a band in harmony, jamming and rocking out with aplomb. It sounds so intricate yet it’s delivered effortlessly such is the musicianship, craftsmanship and professionalism of a band destined to reach the higher echelons. They are without doubt Ireland’s most vital band right now and it’s easy to see why they’ve amassed a cult following.

Final song That Feeling brings the evening to a memorable close. James quips “we don’t do encores in this band….but one day they’ll probably make us”. Beginning with reverb and a heavy bass the increasing tempo sees the song transform from brooding melancholia to a seething explosion of emotion both sonically and lyrically. 

The build up, the breakdown and everything in between goes up another rung with each and every verse. You can sense the excitement and intensity rising, like a volcano wanting to spew lava, the magnitude of this song cannot be underestimated. There’s fervour to the point of hysteria and there’s an underlying catharsis and a sense of genuine relief at the end not just for this song but those other new songs too. All seven songs are likely to make the cut for the eagerly awaited third album. 

Rest assured The Murder Capital are primed and positioned. Without compromising the evolution they are organically heading in the direction of superstardom and I, for one, look forward to the next chapter on their deserved journey to the very top.

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


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