Live Review: The Murder Capital // SWX, Bristol – 19.02.20

Watching The Murder Capital is a turbulent experience, even for the most familiar of fans. The set is furious, trenchant, visceral, and tender all at the same time as extremes of emotion are given free expression. This was not a typical Wednesday at SWX, Bristol.

The Dublin quintet usher in chaos at breakneck speed, entering the stage like cornered dogs. Ominous bass notes pound through the chest before frontman Jack McGovern fiercely enters the fray. The Dublin outfit tear into ‘More is Less’ and ‘For Everything’ without delay, provoking delirium amongst the mass.

The pace is relentless and astonishing as frontman McGovern traipses tensely in no direction, sporadically fluttering his arms like an injured bird, fixing his eyes with vehement intensity upon the ecstatic mob before him. Put simply, McGovern’s presence is mesmerising, but there’s more than one place to look. His bandmates share equally exquisite and utterly captivating individual stage personalities.

But there’s so much more to The Murder Capital than fury, noisy guitars and hot-blooded audiences. The band exercise control and restraint. ‘Slowdance I’ and ‘Slowdance II’ are beautifully married into one masterpiece as McGovern exits the stage, leaving the band to slowly build to a vivid crescendo as they demonstrate their instrumental prowess.

The Dublin quintet share a meaningful embrace before turning to the audience, encouraging them to “hold your friends close” as they commence a delicate and stirring performance of ‘On Twisted Ground’ that takes the breath from the crowd as they stand in total silence. The emotion of the performance captures the room, every feeling articulated to the awe-struck devotees as if the emotions were their own, McGovern seemingly breaking down as the song reached its culmination. Que deafening applause.

Before the mob get the chance to digest the artistry that preceded, the Dublin boys launch into ‘Green & Blue’, ‘Love, Love, Love’ and ‘Don’t Cling To Life’.  Hysteria resumes as mosh pits form and electrifying strobes batter the corneas of the rabble as they feed off the intensity of the band.

As the night reaches its climax with ‘Feeling Fades’, McGovern orders the crowd to crouch alongside his band, before unleashing a crowning virulent chorus as the room leap up in unison. As security snatch the relentless frontman from the furious grasp of the mass after a final crowd-surf, the band embrace for the last time to ear-splitting applause, and exit.

Masters of light and shade, the Dublin outfit lead the audience through different worlds, commanding the emotions of their audience with frightening ease. The breadth of emotions The Murder Capital can inspire is truly unique, playing critically acclaimed debut album ‘When I Have Fears’ almost in its entirety, holding your hand as they guide you through their narrative.

Author avatar
George Boyle

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