In what was one of the rare sunny days spied in the capital so far this year, a sizeable crowd packed into The Bowery in Rathmines – a venue that resembles a ship. A giant painting of a Kraken on the wall leading to the beer garden and cannons adorning the interior walls of the venue are just a few of the immersive features on show as a seabird of a different kind prepared to entertain a growing audience.
Dublin instrumental outfit Chancer opened proceedings, delivering some chunky and earth-shattering tracks off of their debut EP to a growing crowd who had filtered in from the sunny streets and left their canal cans behind. Nothing is left to silence – every space is filled with either a thunderous bassline, crashing drumming or mathy guitars, assuring a comprehensive assault on eardrums is given to every person in attendance. Between the brash, frantic riffs comes the delicate violin that really separates Chancer from other bands that try achieve a similar sound. Hat tip to a very well covered version of Rage Against The Machine’s ‘Born of a Broken Man’, where violin replaced the usually wah-fest of Tom Morello.
It was 10:30 by the time Overhead, The Albatross showed themselves. Shrouded in smoke, Overhead appear five strong on the raised stage to a crowd that were noticeably rowdy after a lengthy gap between the openers and the main act. The delay in the start of the show was explained as being due to waiting on a hazer to arrive, with charismatic psuedo-frontman David Prendergast stating that he wasn’t going to on stage without it, eliciting a few laughs from the crowd.
Overhead create an encompassing aura that sucks you into their world. It’s been two years since the release of their much-coveted debut album, ‘Learning to Growl’. The departure of long-term bassist Joe Panama is something that still seems to have left somewhat of a hole in their live sets but their influence radiates clearly despite this.
Two new tracks were shown off first, both of which felt like they were very much still in the work in progress stage. There was a noticeable difference in how the tracks built in comparison to earlier Overhead tracks, with far more synth being used and the inclusion of sound sampling throughout. Instead of intense build-ups, the instrumentation spiralled around sound samples and built to an intensity that teased an explosive drop that never happened.
It’s hard to accurately judge the newer tracks but seeing them working towards a much anticipated second LP with some new elements thrown in is refreshing. Post rock can grow stagnant without reinvention and allowing new ideas to seep into a band’s sound, so the fact that Overhead haven’t fallen victim to delivering the same things again is reassuring.
The opening melody of the ever impressive Telekinetic Forest Guard was met with enthusiastic roars of approval as it built into the emotive crescendo that crashes in the mid-section of the track, sounding particularly huge in such a tiny venue.
Closing out the set with Big River Man (minus the ladder) saw sweaty bodies throwing themselves around the floor as crashing cymbals and guitar noodling combined to firmly instate the prominence of Overhead. The build-up at the end of the track into group vocals and a cataclysmic outro remains as mesmerizing as always, with the audience joining in enthusiastically.
Post rock in a live setting always becomes an entirely different beast than on record and Overhead continue to excel at this. Despite some instrument swapping throughout and some evident nerves, the energy radiating from the band makes them one of the most entertaining live acts in the country right now.