There’s a man to my left with a brand new The Murder Capital t-shirt that he has just purchased from the merch stall to my right, draped over his shoulder as he talks constantly throughout ‘Green and Blue’ one of the singles taken from the incoming debut LP by tonights headliners.
The actions of a man who is such a fan of a band that he buys a £20 shirt and then dribbles in his friend’s ear throughout a popular song of the band he so adores.
This could be the next instalment of my now monthly engagements with the gig going masses and subsequent rant about their intolerable yabbering, muttering and wanking on about something far more important to them and their chum than the music they have paid to attend and to listen to.
But it isn’t.
The vast majority are in raptures with the intense banquet of poetry, aggression, siren like feedback, caterwauling from the stage.
It’s a similar design of tailored cloth that singer James McGovern and Fontaines DC frontman Grian Chatten were cut from, there’s an anticipation, an expectation as they pace the stage, not that there is much floor space to utilise tonight. A nervous static electricity.
The Boileroom is boiling as the night outside cools, but the oven is set to bake the moisture from our eyes.
This is a confrontational band. Give it a few months post debut album release and their gigs will be a baying throbbing throng of devotees hanging on their every word, every note, and they will demand the attention.
Within moments of entering stage left, bassist Gabriel Paschal Blake, heads straight for the front row, holding onto the roof of the stage he swings back and forth, staring menacingly at the audience, from back to front. His vehemence did not let up one iota and by the cataclysmic finale of ‘Feeling Fades’ he was at the barrier and forcing his bass into the iron beam above the stage making the room shake as the amp roared with vibrations he created.
McGovern enters last and casts his gaze across the people as the opening bars of ‘For Everything’ rumbles into life. It is hard to decide whether he is sizing his audience up for what the evening will bring or for drunks and punks who want to cause trouble.
He has the gravely baritone of a 40 a day smoker which just adds to the overall starkness, the strange isolation that the songs create. The forthcoming debut LP, When I Have Fears is basically played in its entirety and almost in order, literally providing an introduction, a preview to the album.
Live, it is incredibly powerful and dark. ‘Slow Dance Part 2’ sees McGovern depart and the rest of the band form a circle as the cyclical hook and riff refrain steamrollers on and on and on, the tempo ever so slowly increasing and surging forward.
The whole set is a lesson in searing brutal grief. The inevitable parallels with post punk, with Echo and the Bunnymen and the dancing through pain of Joy Division are there because it’s palpable but the ownership, the identity of these boys from Dublin is whole.
‘Don’t Cling To Life’ is a close friend of ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ dancing with tears in its eyes whilst the world falls apart around them, their world, the real world. The soundtrack to the end of days. So simple, so devastating.
The words honesty and authenticity are readily and frequently banded about, but where lies, fake news and insincerity are common place the truth is a rare commodity. We’re staring into blind eyes, dead behind, blackness where a soul is missing and a lost look as their moral compass is pointing in the wrong direction. You get the feeling nothing The Murder Capital do is not in the pursuit of something honest.
They play 9 songs and disappear. They don’t wait for the clamour and the praise. They’re here because they couldn’t be anywhere else, it’s a compulsion, a necessity.
Rock’n’roll in 2019 is being owned by the Irish. In whatever guise that comes, they are killing it.