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Lluthor, Moth Complex, Laminate - January 27, 2007 - Dublin, Ireland @ the Village

By: Ken McGrath

Talk about a definite case of a concert lineup being out of order.

Those few who made it into the Village early enough were lucky to catch Wexford, Ireland, band Laminate busting out a stunning set. Armed with songs like "Paper," this is the sort of mid-'90s alternative guitar rock that people just donít make anymoreóthink of Bush and Silverchair crossing paths with Queens Of The Stone Age. Although the group sports big, ballsy, Kerbdog-style riffs and well-thought-out song structures, itís the little touches like the vocal switches, slight drum changes and one-off guitar bends that make you really believe in these guys.

An uninhibited passion flows through the veins of this young three-piece. At the end of the set, vocalist/guitarist Derren Dempsey wanders into the drum kit, knocking it everywhere. This might seem terribly cliched, but it actually comes across as genuine, especially when you saw the surprised/horrified look on the drummer's face. Don't let the capitalís ridiculous house prices put you off: This band is the hottest property in Dublin right now.

Moth Complex is less immediate musically but have a visual advantage over Laminate. Fronted by the super-sexy, shape-throwing Aoife OíLeary, she draws the eyes of every man (and more than a few women) in the room from the moment she struts onstage. Good looks will only get you so far though. O'Leary possesses a unique if not overly powerful voice, and after about 10 minutes of watching someone rock-starring it up, be they male or female, youíre going to get bored. Luckily for Moth Complex the music is up to the task. Its hybrid of goth and industrial is somewhat minimalist, packing a lot more of a wallop live than it does on record. One drawback is that on first listen the music doesn't tend to be fully engaging. That said, closer "Stronger Inside" and the drill-like siren song "Learned My Lesson" are enough to make even the less interested in the crowd prick up their ears, especially the latter with its Pitchshifter "Genius"-style vocal effect.

And then itís the main act, Lluthor, who despite having a great sound and a real stage presence, reveal itself to be little more than a Nine Inch Nails clone. From the singer hanging onto the mic stand to the powered-up beats and razor-sharp guitars, itís impossible to enjoy their set for the simple reason that you feel like youíre watching Trent Reznor perform songs that you havenít heard before. Youíre left feeling hollow, with little memory of what youíve witnessed. Lluthor may be tight and professional, but if youíre walking away from a show thinking about another band entirely, thereís something more than a little off. Too much hero worship plus not enough individual identity equals an overall sense of disappointment. myspace.com/laminatemusic mothcomplex.com

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