“There’s so many of you here! I’m shocked!” quips M(h)aol’s frontwoman Roísín Nic Ghearailt midway through the band’s headline show in YES’ Pink Room. “And appalled!” chimes drummer Connie Keane (AKA Fears), before the five-piece launch into another blistering number.
M(h)aol are a unique prospect when it comes to punk bands, and they are part of a vitally important and interesting Irish subset of new bands. The band consist of drums, guitar, vocals and two bassists. Zoe Greenway and Jamie Hyland combine to create M(h)aol’s sound – their playing is grungy and full throttle, duelling basslines and dark, brooding feedback is accompanied flawlessly by the wider band.
They’re loud tonight. The band are in the midst of a UK tour and have been on the road endlessly; the constant playing has had a monumental effect on the group’s sound. They are tight and confident, playing effortlessly as a unit. The new cuts from debut album Attachment Styles blend wonderfully with material from their Gender Studies EP and early work.
M(h)aol banter and chat to each other on-stage throughout – there is clearly so much love and kindness within the band, they’re always hyping each other up, supporting and shouting eachother’s praises. Not only is it lovely to behold, but it’s totally charming and you would find it tricky to leave a M(h)aol show without a Cheshire-cat grin. A M(h)aol gig is a poignant and powerful space; the subject matter of their tracks is centred around women’s and queer liberation, with Roísín professing her undying love and support for the LGBTQ community. Before the show closes out, Roísín explains how the overarching theme of their latest record is hope.
The band rattle through tune after tune, their punchy, grungy punk numbers come thick and fast, with the Pink Room getting more and more involved with each cut. Fan favourite ‘Gender Studies’ is a highlight, with bassist Zoe Greenway playing her jet black Hoffner with a cello bow to create a powerful wall of feedback and sludge. Performing with tempered ferocity, the outfit wear their passion on their sleeve whilst amplifying their feminist rage.
M(h)aol are fast-becoming one of the best live acts on the scene, and they show no signs of stopping.
photo credit: Naomi Williams