Live Review: Murder Capital // Manchester Albert Hall 16.2.23

Fresh off the back of a number 2 album, the Murder Capital are back with a full-blown UK tour following a run of intimate in-store performances.

The Irish band had a lengthy break between records, and their recent effort, Gigi’s Recovery, is a sonically different beast from their debut. The group achieved the impossible by following a generational record with something just as good and are consequently faced with the challenge of translating the two albums into a cohesive live performance. This challenge is relished by TMC, who bring an explosive and sensitive show to Manchester’s legendary Albert Hall.

When it comes to creating an atmosphere, The Murder Capital are world-class: the dark and brooding sense of loss that is apparent throughout debut album When I have Fears is switched up for a more contemplative and vulnerable aura in Gigi’s. The show commences with a triple play from Gigi’s, ‘Existence’, ‘Crying’ and ‘Return my Head’ ring around the high ceilings of the Albert Hall; the ethereal, otherworldly feeling conveyed on the new record casts a huge presence in the room and from the outset of the show, the evident personal and professional growth of this band is apparent.

Any reflective or emotional headspace created by the opening trio of songs is obliterated by debut classic ‘More is Less’, which sends the giddy Mancunian crowd into raptures: McGovern acts as an agent of high-chaos, goading the crowd into opening a pit wider and wider before gleefully encouraging the sweaty bodies to slam into each other in perfect time with the colossal punk tune. ‘For Everything’, ‘Slowdance’ I & II, and ‘On Twisted Ground’ gives the crowd a chance to catch its collective breath, but the sheer raw emotion of these cuts can’t go unnoticed. Despite chatter in the crowd, TMC press on in their quest to create an overarching sense of despair, mortality, and reflection.

McGovern’s stage antics continue throughout the set, and the frontman finds himself sitting atop the barrier, facing back at his bandmates as they jam out the instrumental parts in ‘Green & Blue’. He also ends up hoisted above the heads of the crowd, surfing from left to right, based in a menacing red glow as the band thunder through their set. McGovern has clearly grown in confidence as a frontman, and as he stalks the stage, all of Manchester is eating out of the palm of his hand. The band are an ultra-tight live unit and, paired with their enigmatic frontman, TMC are hitting brand-new heights.

A final three-play of ‘Only Good Things’, ‘Don’t Cling To Life’ and ‘Ethel’ is The Murder Capital at the absolute peak of their powers. These tracks are raw and explosive, but the way TMC unleash these final cuts on the crowd is unlike anything else in the scene right now: high emotional intensity and cuts that build to explosive crescendos is a trademark of the band, who are undeniably one of the best live bands on the circuit right now.

photo credit: James Kelly

Author avatar
Charlie Brock

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