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ZU - September 29, 2009 - Crawdaddy, Dublin, Ire

By: Ken McGrath

The crowds are out in force for Dublin rockers Bats, who’re jammed onto the Crawdaddy stage. In fact, it’s so packed that their bassist is forced down in the audience to play from the midst of the crowd. And it’s a rammed-in bunch tonight. Their jagged slightly math-ish rock is all cuts and corners, snaps and crashes of the drums, which gets everyone moving nicely.

When the gang vocal, surround-sound shouted intro to “Death To Kent Hovid” begins it send the place into a rushed of guitar noise. That they don’t play the brilliant “The Cruel Sea” it’s a bit of a disappointment, but with a full-length bristling with great tunes there’s always going to be a few that don’t make it into the set. “Vermithrax Pejorative” and the brilliant calling card “Bats Spelled Backwards Is Stab” make up for it though, banishing frowns.

Zu on the other hand, offer up something completely different. Unfortunately, the crowd’s thinned out a bit since Bats, probably due to the Italians not taking to the stage until late and it being a school night and all, which is a bit of a let down, although they don’t seem to care. There are still plenty of people present to witness the trio do their wonderful thing.

When things kick off, it’s all glorious, building noise from the hypnotic drums and heavily distorted bass. Four stringer Massimo Pupillo manages to create such a weird racket that he could probably take on Adebisi Shank and Lightning Bolt alone. It’s Luca T. Mai on the saxophone though that draws the eye and the ear most often, sucking in big breathes and exhaling deep, drawn out notes like static clouds or blaring short, sharp bursts.

Much heavier in the live setting than on record it’s a blend of thudding Godflesh riffs from the bass, with tight, half beats (think early Therapy? slice and chop) rooting the music in place while the soundtrack to a David Lynch movie swirls overhead. A fierce “Carbon” and the Sunno)))-esque bass/saxophone play off are particular highlights.


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