The Murder Capital at Whelan’s, Dublin on 11th May 2019

Making a brief return home from a recently extended, extensive tour of the United Kingdom – including a support slot for arguably the world’s most important band of the moment, Idles – The Murder Capital play to a sell-out crowd at Whelan’s as part of the inaugural Eastbound Festival happening in venues across Dublin.

Said-performance prompted Idles frontman Joe Talbot to dub the band “soon to be the best band in Europe”. Big words, sure, but those fortunate enough to have seen The Murder Capital live during their embryonic stage can attest to the absolute magnitude of their shows. Tonight proves to be no different.

Support comes by way of Dublin-based band Melts, whose brand of psyched out post-punk proved a more than suitable taste of what was to come. Their energetic performance showcases the band’s first-class musicianship and keen ear for mesmerising soundscapes, their well-received single Skyward and latest release Echoes go over well with those in attendance.

The room predictably becomes uncomfortably full as time draws near for the homecoming boys to take the stage, the fever pitch becoming impalpable. Dimmed lights and deafening fuzz-bass feedback is the cue. Once onstage, The Murder Capital are all business. Dressed to the nines and cutting a menacing figure, frontman James McGovern’s thousand yard stare and enthusiastic tambourine shaking only makes the unsettling tremolo guitars of set opener For Everything even more intense. Immediately followed by More Is Less – complete with newly revised lyrics and slight rearrangement – The Murder Capital are straight in, no messing.

In keeping with the trend of all things new and signs of growth, Whelan’s is treated to some new material and some new arrangements of songs that have by now been well-travelled and likely re-worked as the band continue work on their upcoming album. Set highlight Slow Dance, a gorgeous if twisted two-part mood-setter complete with a stunning instrumental coda; is introduced as a reminder that “it’s nice to dance together, and to be able to hold each other while doing it”. The band’s rearrangement of set-staple On Twisted Ground, an ode to a dearly departed friend of James’ and the support of his bandmates breathes a whole new life into an already heart-wrenching song, while new one Don’t Cling to Life is a straight-up rocking barn burner.

“What’s the craic? It’s nice to be able to say that to people who understand it” quips James at an early point during the band’s set. It’s an emotional night for the band who know exactly where they came from and wear it proudly on their sleeves like a badge of honour. With an album on the way, increasingly bold and confident performances, and more dates further afield to come, it may not be too long before Joe Talbot’s prophecy is fulfilled. Perhaps we’ll see them again next time on a bigger stage.