LIVE: The Murder Capital @ Electric Ballroom

Dublin's newest sons merit the hype with a blistering set for Giglist's Gig Of The Week
Posted: 25 February 2020 Words: Will Lewis
In the heartbeat of London’s indie scene there's an unmatched anticipation in Camden’s Electric Ballroom for another ‘post-punk’ band from the Emerald Island. In the last year, Fontaines D.C have been garnering attention from all corners of the British Islands. Tonight’s show comes from fellow Dubliners, The Murder Capital, but that’s really where a lot of the similarities end. Topics such as the recession, mental health, growing suicide rates, and the gentrification of their hometown are issues met by both, but in very different ways.

The Murder Capital came into the night with a reputation of hugely dominant live performances, a band that must be seen – there was no pre-hype disappointment. Roaring into the set with a blistering performance of ‘More is Less’ set the tone as lead singer James McGovern wasted no time introducing himself to the crowd. Launching himself into the adulation, as he joined them on the other side of barrier for the opening track before returning to the stage for their debut album (When I have Fears) opener ‘For Everything’. As a leading man, McGovern seemingly has it all, as his Morrissey-esque style is refuted with a vehement presence and trenchant attitude.

Following the blistering start, the band take a darker and more cinematic turn with ‘Slowdance I’ and ‘Slowdance II’. McGovern plays more of a background as the rest of the band showcase their talent before returning to his main role for ‘On Twisted Ground’ - a track written about the suicide of their friend. “Oh, my dearest friend/How it came to this/With your searing end/Into the abyss” cries McGovern during a harrowing yet tender recital of the track. The band’s name was chosen following the death of their close friend and they are very open, profound even about the lack of mental healthcare during a time when it’s affecting so many. Throughout their set he is outspoken about this as he tells the audience to hold their friends close and that you never know what those next to you are going through. It’s a sentiment felt by all.

‘Green and Blue’, ‘Love, Love, Love,’ and ‘Don’t Cling to Life’ follow. The latter (a two-and-a-half-minute riotous blockbuster) has the Joy Division-esque ability to send a crowd into a frenzy on a dance floor despite the dour feelings it echoes. The nine song setlist – only ‘How The Streets Adore Me Now’ from their only album so far was left out – came to a rapturous ending with ‘Feeling Fades’ as McGovern ended the evening where he started it – amongst his audience, but this time they carried him as a hugely powerful performance came to an end.

A very important band singing about very important things, in a way very few can. The set may have only been an hour but it was all that was needed. No gimmicks, no encore, no complaints. An earnest band that packs one hell of a punch.

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