For a handful of years post-punk has been at the heart of the indie/alternative scenes but in 2019 Dublin has proved over and over that right now no one can beat the post-punk coming from it right now; on Saturday The Murder Capital showcased their album in order except for final track Love, Love, Love demonstrating without equivocation that their album due out next month will be one of if not ‘the’ album of the year. Fans at Heartbreakers in Southampton were clearly equally confident, Underscore Part 3 noticed a couple of fans immediately using their phones to pre-order the album straight after their set and before even leaving the venue.
“[The Murder Capital demonstrated] without equivocation that their album due out next month will be one of if not ‘the’ album of the year.”
To add to the line-up were Egyptian Blue who speaking technically were the ‘support band’ when in reality they could right now and we’re certain will play Heartbreakers again as headliners whenever they wish. Having just dropped extremely well received EP Collateral Damage on Felix White of former The Maccabees fame’s label YALA Records, EB are building their own notoriety on the UK scenes.
“Egyptian Blue optimise the term ‘punk as fuck’ for current trends, presenting absolute chaos with skill.”
Unsurprisingly by the time Egyptian Blue stepped on stage Heartbreakers was ¾ full with only a small channel of space at the front, it was a night of ‘if you know you know’ so by the chorus of the bands second song the crowd showed pockets of swaying and bouncing. In a currently oversaturated genre Egyptian Blue manage to create a sound that feels like a uniform and in no way repetitive, in the early career of a band listeners want to be able to affiliate themselves with their new found fave, Egyptian Blue recognise and exercise this perfectly. The ‘uniform’s’ key points are staccato guitar strikes and vocal delivered as an order not an opinion layered over crisp top end bass twinned with drums to create a solid rhythm section grounding layer. Egyptian Blue optimise the term ‘punk as fuck’ for current trends, presenting absolute chaos with skill. Egyptian Blue bring everything you want from a live set, that step past record perfect to make them an unformidable live act.
“Egyptian Blue bring everything you want from a live set, that step past record perfect to make them an unformidable live act.”
Everything about The Murder Capital’s charge on the UK music scene has been meticulously planned, when we interviewed lead singer James McGovern early this year as the band dropped their first single The Feeling Fades he commented that “we wanted our opening statements to matter.” Now with 3 singles released this tour is their first where the fans have a level of preconceived ideas of what The Murder Capital are; back in February James told us “[the name The Murder Capital] has different meanings to different people at different times.” It’s apparent that The Murder Capital have an objective, a plan carefully crafted to present possibly the greatest small venue tour of the year.
“It was apparent that TMC had an objective, a plan carefully crafted to present possibly the greatest small venue tour of the year.”
With specific minimal set up done by the band the hype left by Egyptian Blue continued to build, stepped up a notch by deliberately laid set lists with too many for the band left in a manner to give the crowd a chance to look at what they were about to witness; The Murder Capital were treating us like children peeking at Christmas presents before the day. As mischievous children the crowd started to notice we were about to witness the entire debut album played from start to finish, the excitement continued with a young male wailing the words to single The Feeling Fades.
With abruptness the current indie hits changed to a 2-song intro soundtrack off lesser known band Burnt Out, this was orchestrated with coordinated lighting (something rarely seen in grassroots touring venues). As the crowd reached fever-pitch the stage door (where bands usually amble out of haphazardly) was opened by the bands tour manager who flicked at the guitars filling the room with feedback wails and shortly after the band minus lead singer James jumped on stage picking their instruments opening the set with For Everything. With a self-assured swagger James emerged from the stage door with tambourine rattle in time to make his presence known ready for his first vocal line. With For Everything and for YouTube viral track More Is Less the band show exactly that ‘more is less’ not breaking character but evidencing why the room is sold out despite the crowd having only heard a smattering of the carefully released tracks.
“[During Slow Dance I and Slow Dance II the crowd realised they were seeing something special; they were there!”
Prior to Green and Blue James greeted the crowd thanking them for their support showing the human side of the post-punk behemoths. We’re yet to know how Slow Dance I and Slow Dance II will be presented on the album with the pair being played as 1 piece after James introduced the tracks as the chance to make new friend to slow dance to. A previously unheard post-punk slow dance is not the recipe for delight which was reflected in the confused sways of the crowd prior to the build of the song. With the build the crowd began looking round in literal disbelief at possibly some of the audience members most captivating live music experience. The Murder Capital have managed to recruit legendary producer Flood for their album whose expertise is draped over the track, it is at this moment in the set the crowd realised they were seeing something special; they were there!
“As the room literally felt the emotion in the band and in the outpouring through [song Twisted Ground] everyone was left realising that the three released singles are barely the start of what The Murder Capital have to offer.”
Breaking character again James McGovern explains how he has lost 2 important people in his life which he managed to get through sharing with band, to build intimacy bass player Gabriel Paschal Blake stepped off the stage to sit on the monitor at the front of the crowd to play Twisted Ground a song which the predominant instrumentation is Gabriel strumming his bass and James’ vocal. Whilst the other band members dropped their heads when not playing. As the room literally felt the emotion in the band and in the outpouring through the song everyone was left realising that the three released singles are barely the start of what The Murder Capital have to offer.
“With startled eyes the crowd left via the merch stand stunned at what they had seen knowing they would never see The Murder Capital in such a small room again.”
As a 2-song ending celebration the room and band erupted into chaos playing new single Don’t Cling to Life followed by Feeling Fades. To deliver James McGovern’s “la, la…” lines in Feeling Fades James clung to the ceiling stood on the monitor whilst the room and the band erupted to his voice. The band stepped off the stage with crowd confusion as the albums final track Love, Love, Love remained yet to be played with guitars wailing feedback propped against the amps instead of the final piece in the puzzle everyone wished for. The crowd left with startled eyes via the merch stand stunned at what they had seen knowing they would never see The Murder Capital in such a small room again.
The Murder Capital Release their debut album When I Have Fears on Human Season Records on 16th of August
Egyptian Blue’s new EP Collateral Damage is out now.
Words: James Wadsworth