The last time Clock Opera played in Dublin, they had taken The Village by storm with their set as part of Camden Crawl Dublin. Their album ‘Ways to Forget’ had just been released and the band’s performance oozed enthusiasm and converted many to their ways. This time round Clock Opera have undertaken a string of dates around Ireland, stopping off at the Academy 2 for a Friday evening show.
The night begins with a set from Cork’s Hush War Cry, a four piece who released their ‘Voices’ E.P. On the Delphi label earlier this year. The band have a lush sound greater than their four piece status suggests. Ethereal pop with two great vocal performances, much akin in parts to the vocal prowess of Patrick Wolf. The standard of their songwriting shines and if Hush War Cry keep producing music to the standard of their song ‘Lily‘, we’ll be hearing a lot more of them.
The audience had quickly set themselves in front of the stage for Clock Opera, when White Noise had built up from its intro, the crowd exploded into mass dancing. Despite constantly touring this album, the band fronted by Guy Connolly, still look like they are enjoying themselves and this easily rubs off on the crowd. Drums, bass, samples, all meld together for an interesting soundscape. The unmistakable opening notes of Manmade begin and the music’s danceability is definitely not in question. Catchy refrains, memorable melodies and a fantastic pumping bass, signal the perfect start to a bank holiday weekend.
Hitting metal objects with drum sticks, a plate, a tankard and a cylinder of sorts, provides the opening rhythm of A Piece of String. Towards the end of the song, someone leaves a bottle of rum on the stage for the band. Connolly informs the audience that this has become a ritual and after the band each have a sip, offers the audience some. During The Lost Buoys, the bottle makes its way around the audience before the dregs make their way back to the stage. This seemed to unify the audience and the band in this cavernous venue.
Before introducing Once and For All, the lead singer signals to a person in the front row and refers to them as a“‘human autocue” and acknowledges that they know the words better than he does. Although, the audience are dancing and enjoying themselves, it’s not until Belongings that the impact the band’s music has had can truly be seen. The subtle delicate instrumentation lends itself to being able to hear the audience sing every word, bringing smiles to the faces of the band. In mutual admiration, hands are held high during Lesson No. 7, clapping the opening rhythms of the track as Connolly says “it’s the last song of the night” but “then we’ll see”.
Throughout the show, there are some notable points, the band are slick, every note, every time a drum is struck, it’s there for a reason. Their songs have a beautiful ebb and flow and leave the listener wonderfully uplifted. They build with energy and like the drumming in Lesson No. 7, leave the audience wondering how they can keep up with themselves before crashing to a clean stop. Clock Opera don’t bother with the fake ‘walk off the stage and walk back on’, playing Fail Better as the last song of the night. An excellent performance with the music to back it up. These guys should be huge.