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This Town Needs Guns - February 5, 2009 - Whelan's, Dublin, IR

By: Ken McGrath

With Ireland and England caught up in a white haze for the last few days and everyone on the news warning that travel conditions are appalling, it’s encouraging to see so many people have braved the weather to be here tonight, including the bands. There’s barely time to order a beer before Adebisi Shank take to the stage. Armed now with both a full-length and an EP’s worth of material, the Adebisi boys manage to raise both the temperature and the energy levels quite quickly. Their blend of high-octane Lightning Bolt crossed with Mr Bungle, weird-ass, instrumental freak out rock receiving a strong reception from the crowd, who can’t help but get behind the grooves, legs and arms shaking involuntarily. On record these guys are great, but live it’s where it really takes hold, drummer Mick especially making his presence felt as he holds down solid beats around which the crazy riffs of Lar and Vinny fly. At times it looks like he’s sitting on one of those kids ride on cars you get outside of shops, sometimes he’s moving so much. Not that the other two remain static either, lunging about the stage as the hectic bursts of noise explode about them. There’s only one question that can be asked of them however: what’s the point of pockets in skinny jeans? What would fit in them?

Next up are Northern Ireland’s newest ones to watch, instrumental troupe …And So I Watch You From Afar. With so many bands currently ploughing the post-rock/post-metal furrow you have to do a lot to stand out. These guys may not have the talent of an Isis, occasionally the jumps between loud to soft are too juddering, but what’s perfect about them in a live setting is the fierceness they bring. It’s simply a case of “look you might not like this but we’re not stopping, and you’re in the middle of the road.” So you just hop on and hold tight (check out “Set Guitars To Kill” on their MySpace for proof). There’s plenty of loud, obnoxious moments where the shaggy haired bassist pins down a riff like a wiggling snake and the rest of the band throw bits of King Crimson’s “Frame By Frame” at it, but for each of these there’s a Red Sparrows bleak, emptiness passage. …And So I Watch You From Afar are out to win people over tonight and as the hammering continues, you’re left with no choice but to partake, which makes for an interesting experience, especially when they close the doors on the night with a mammoth, lumbering Neurosis riff that has the room locked in its hypnotic sway.

And the night should have ended there. But it didn’t. The Smiths-loving This Town Needs Guns unfortunately don’t make any sense on a bill where the bottom end is loaded with Adebisi Shank and …And So I Watch You From Afar, and they simply manage to only annoy. They’re given a few songs, but it’s not long before we’re back out in the snow and ice, discussing how this town needs salt a little more than This Town Needs Guns.

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