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Red Sparowes - October 20th, 2006 - Dublin, Ireland @ The Bull and Castle

By: Ken McGrath

When Red Sparowes play, nothing else exists. Their instrumental soundscape rock makes you feel like you’re dreaming. Drifting. It flows across you and carries you away. The group is a joy to experience live; their concerts are less about the songs themselves and more about the overall feeling, the sensation you get from just standing there swaying slowly. Even though the show is a very personal experience, there’s still a subtle sense of community in the air.

On record Red Sparowes are great, but live is the place to witness this band in all its glory, and in the strange setting of the upstairs room of a small, obscure Dublin pub, the gathered faithful did just that. The trance-inducing melodies and rhythms wove their way through the crowd as the Sparowes lifted the feeling in the room higher and higher, tugging gently at emotions and brushing against closed eyelids as each song built, ebbed and descended.

The track "We Stood Transfixed" from new album "Every Red Heart Shines Towards The Red Sun" summed up the feeling perfectly. When the band played Dublin’s Crawdaddy last March it had images of cities—buildings, bridges, towers—playing on the screen behind it. This time the visuals matched the subject matter of "Every Red Heart," that being the starvation of millions of people in China. It provided something to focus on when one briefly opened their eyes before the music took them under again. And the familiarity of such songs as "Alone And Unaware The Landscape Was Transformed In Front Of Us" also brought some warmth with it.

During the swells of "Like The Howling Glory Of The Darkest Winds, This Voice Was Thunderous And The Words Holy, Tangling Their Way Around Our Hearts And Clutching Our Innocent Awe," things picked up a little. People danced away, although like the performers it’s really a self-contained phenomenon, each person lost in their own bubble. Considering that Red Sparowes contains members of Isis, a band that is becoming quite the name to drop in certain image-based circles, no scene-hoppers were evident in the audience. And unlike watching, say Sunn O))) (which, by the way, is pronounced "sun"), there were no noticeable deserters. The end of the set brought a burst of rapturous applause that left viewers with the comforting feeling that they'd witnessed something truly great. [END]

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