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Mael Mordha - October 13, 2007 - Voodoo Lounge - Dublin, Ireland

By: Ken McGrath

Sitting, having a pint in the ever so slowly filling up Voodoo Lounge, waiting for two of Ireland’s premier bands to take the stage, the eye is caught by a guy walking past wearing small black PVC shorts, his belly poking out proudly under the bottom of his tight, shiny vest-top. He’s not the only one either. There’s a steady amount of Goth and fetish types wandering around in their dark wipe-clean clothing, leather and lace. Apparently there’s a club on upstairs after the show. Now while metal fans are used to being in situations where they’re surrounded by odd-looking folk, this is just a little bit out of place, especially seeing as Mael Mordha and Stand-Up Guy tend to draw from the hairier end of the spectrum. Ah well, each to their own, as they say.

Disappointingly neither the under whelming Warpath nor Faith are any use whatsoever, making it an absolute, almost perverse joy, to watch Stand-Up Guy marking out their territory in such fine style. Giving the best performance this scribe has ever seen from them you get the feeling tonight that they’re on the verge of really establishing themselves as ones to watch. Out in support of their new album, “Avenue Unawares,” this often slowly, trundling, juggernaut refuses to ease up for their entirety of the set. Clearly the only thing missing is that sternum, punching bass rumble you often get when you see bigger bands. Despite this it’s easy to find yourself completely immersed in the Stand-Up Guy’s wall of sound, one that’s overwhelming and exhilarating in equal measure. They may seem to worship at the throne of Neurosis with the oft-repeated methodical guitar lines strapped down by padlock tight bass and drums, all wrapped about around bear-like bellows.

While watching Stand Up Guy you’d be well advised not to have a beer at hand as you’ll more than likely drop it as soon as you start to zone out and let the convulsions take over. For Mael Mordha it’s almost essential to have a beverage near by so you can hold it aloft. Cut from a completely different (loin)cloth, they may be strange tour-mates but tonight’s no time to question these sort of things. A more typical blend of traditional Irish culture mixed with metal there’s absolutely nothing wrong with this as they’ve got rousing, powerful, epic songs. Dressed in their usual battle garb and war paint you’d have to be made of stern stuff to not get caught up in it all, especially when the war horn comes out. A chugging, Celtic take on the black metal genre you can only hope the crowd upstairs are having an equally good evening.

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