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Ana Gog at the Unitarian Church, Dublin  on Friday 1st March 2013

Playing in such a big enclosed space like the Unitarian Church will always be a challenge for a band. And the band don’t always gel with the space. Often little bits of sound tend to get stuck in the corners high above you so when the songs really kick in; subtleties and nuances tend to get lost; the songs just don’t sound the same. This unfortunately, was the case for Ana Gog’s Unitarian Church show last Friday night.

The space itself is beautiful, especially for a live performance, and Ana Gog used the space well visually with bright lights and some custom video plastered across the walls and ceiling. Often, these didn’t take the shape of anything much, but there were some stand-out sequences that really fitted well with the overall vibe – the fitting pieces being the raindrops on the windshield, a slow-motion flock of birds, and an emotional/euphoric collection of fireworks that arrived as the show closed out. It’s hard not to be moved when the room is so beautiful.

But while Ana Gog’s pianos, bass, and beautifully phrased harmonies fitted together well, the drums clattered around, banging clumsily into the other sounds so it all ended in a muddled drone – a sound Ana Gog aren’t known for. And unfortunately this was an aspect of the evening that didn’t bode well for the band.

Their set was made up of equal portions of new tunes and album tunes. But it was an album launch for their debut LP so in between songs the band worked their heroic way through a long list of ‘Thank Yous’ and ‘shout-outs’. The shout-outs, which of course included their mammies and the obligatory Jesus (after all, they were in a church).

Of course, the band have a right to thank those who helped them along, but all-in-all it gave a strange taste to the show. It made you feel more detached from the music when the gaps between songs were so pronounced. What’s more, it was a little bit of a media circus with two cameramen and a couple if photographers darting around throughout the show, which didn’t do much to complement the aesthetics…

It was very much a friends and family affair too, as the attendees were packed in to the pews. And, when you’re preaching to the converted, things can be very easy for a band. Ana Gog’s own sound is still intricate, ambitious, but very self-indulgent. Their tracks tend to get drawn out and, at this show, the breaks were equally drawn out. The crowd didn’t mind. They were there to see their friends, cousins, brothers, sons, co-workers, etc.

Ana Gog simply didn’t rise to the challenge of the venue. They were more performing in the Unitarian Church, rather than putting on a show and making it their own.


Ana Gog Photo Gallery

Photos: Aisling Finn