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Bell X1 live at Malahide Castle

From their opening song, Bell X1 are all gloriously triumphant. Their demeanour is relaxed, entertaining, and above all, slick.

Shilpa Ganatra, 13 Jul 2007

Forgive the reservations, but for these ears and eyes, the Bellies’ vertical career trajectory left their recent indoor arena shows with metaphorical stretch marks as the Dublin fivesome grew faster than they’re comfortably able.

Strange that tonight they built themselves up even more, with a sterling supporting bill consisting of Herman Düne, Jape, Duke Special, and an intro of possibly the funniest Eyebrowy cartoon yet – which is saying something. But kicking off with ‘Alphabet Soup’, it only needs frontman Paul Noonan to bust a few smooth moves and a bluegrass dance from the banjo-playing Dave Geraghty before their statement is made: their presence fills every square inch of the stage.

From thereon in, it’s all gloriously triumphant. Their demeanour is relaxed, entertaining, and above all, slick. They whizz through the cream of Music In Mouth and Flock (with Neither Am I’s contribution limited to ‘Blue Rinse Baby’) exuding the confidence they’ve always had, only now they know what to do with it.

The blue-suited Noonan chats to the crowd with ease, and proves his breadth by flitting from driven tracks like ‘Whitewater Song’ to touching ballads like crowd fave ‘Eve, The Apple Of My Eye’. And now that the instrumentalists have forged their own music careers outside of the band, the focus is equally on them – and they too have risen to the challenge. With that much energy onstage, it’s darn near impossible for the 15,000-strong audience to stay still to ‘Tongue’, or not “doo dooo” along to the night’s highlight, ‘Rocky Took A Lover’.

If there was a face that didn’t go home beaming, it was lost on me.

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