Review: Alarmist at WhelansTweet
Review by Mason McMillen
My expectations of the gig were high. My fiver at the door got me into Whelans to see 3 up and coming Irish acts, set up by SquareD Managment. The headliner Alarmist, four, complex, ambient instrumentalists, captured my utmost admiration at their last gig supporting Enemies. One of my hopes of the night was to try and obtain a copy of any recordings they have, however I had to leave empty handed (they announced an album or EP to be released by the end of the summer).
From the beginning to end of the night, Whelans had plenty of room to fit another haul of people. Despite the loud and boisterous music being produced onstage, the crowd remained fairly reserved with the typical gig applause and humorous heckles. SquareD Management may have under estimated the obscurity of the bands, resulting in this disappointing turnout for such impressive acts.
The young Kildare math-rocker named Avalanche Ammo performed his first ever performance, playing his phenomenal new EP, Animals. It was evident that this was the masked musician’s first gig as his nervousness shown through the set, which primarily consisted of lively augmenting the tracks of the 4 songs of his Animals.Besides the few vocals noises and guitar parts he seemingly struggled to play over the tracks, the show was more of a DJ set. He still persevered through the set and remained enthusiastic and full of energy.
The sad thing is that the show could have been incredible because of the richness of the material. As of now, his live show doesn’t do his impressive recordings justice. I really hope he finds other musicians to play with him live in future gigs, until then, get your digital hands on Animals, which he put out as a free download.
We Are Losers played an energetic set list with a grungy, raw punk sound.The atmosphere during their set was that of a Sex Pistols gig in an urban undergroundvenue during the 70’s, to which I had no problem with. The band gave me the impression that they are trying hard to find that authentic ‘lo-fi’ punk sound, with all the old-fashioned gang vocals. As raw as their tones may be, they appear to be polished live performers. This is difficult transition from the group that this band emerged from: the late great Super Extra Bonus Party. So if you’re feeling nostalgic about SEBP or want to see some good modern punk rock, give We Are Losers a chance.
Alarmist are a flawless live band… Yes. That’s right. If you like instrumental music from Richter Collective and Sargent House and haven’t seen an Alarmist gig,do. I guarantee you’d see nothing but one of the best live Irish bands playing today.Watching the insane dynamics of this band still leaves me in disbelief. Their music reminds me of post rock bands like Battles or Mogwai particularly because of the odd time signatures, song structures, guitar rhythms and effects. They kicked off their set with Vitamin Saturday, a song that captures a lot of the band’s main moods and sounds, from ambient to heavy to energetic to smooth to explosive. This band tends to dance along the border between ‘static’ and ‘spastic.’ Their musicianship and timing is so perfect, yet their songs can be so spontaneous and harsh.
Their ability to play various instruments simultaneously is a spectacle in itself. The execution of the complex rhythms and melodies, alternating between guitar riffs to synthesiser to keyboard, makes a satisfying visual and aural experience. Half way through a song,one of the guitarists reveals a bass clarinet, brandishing some a classy dynamic to the set. Using almost no pre-recorded tracks, most of the music was produced live onstage, creating an impressive, authentic performance. Even the images and animations projected onto the backdrop were all being created live.