- 27 Jan 23
The current Hot Press cover stars brought their trademark intimate power to their acoustic performance at Aloft Dublin City last night.
It was real special occasion, as Dublin band The Murder Capital played the final show of a hectic launch week for their brand new and widely acclaimed album Gigi’s Recovery. Buoyed by the knowledge that they were in a battle for the No.1 slot in the Irish charts with one of the biggest stars on the planet in Taylor Swift, the band tore up the stage last night at Aloft Dublin City, in a way which suggested: their time is now....
The setting is spectacular. Surrounded by glass windows that offer incredible views of the city centre, warm pink aesthetic touches and inviting design – with an opportunity to step out onto an open-air verandah before the music starts – the rooftop space is quickly earning a reputation as a great venue for these intimate Hot Press-curated shows.
Performing for the [email protected] series after incredible sets from 49th & Main, Dea Matrona and Lea Heart, the rockers brought incendiary magnetism to a raw, acoustic set on the top floor of the Liberties-based hotel.
Currently on the cover of Hot Press for the first time to celebrate the release of Gigi's Recovery, the swirling enthusiasm around the quintet is clearly well deserved. With buckets of charisma, and a potent lyrical intensity, delivered by frontman James McGovern, there is a real focal point when they hit the stage. The four band members on the band were seated for this acoustic presentation of their music, making the [email protected] stage their own, in front of a packed crowd.
Starting at 7:30pm sharp, members of the audience were able to get as close as possible for what was a gorgeously intimate performance, producing epic results. Die hard fans repeated every word back to McGovern, despite Gigi's Recovery only landing on streaming services in full last Friday (January 20th.)
They started off with 'Only Good Things' – a "bright and luminous love song" – and it was a more than worthy opener. The crowd clearly agreed, swaying back and forth to the pared-back version. This was familiar ground, as the track originally arrived last July as the first introduction to Gigi's Recovery.
Next up was 'The Stars Will Leave Their Stage', a more opaque and brooding number from their latest LP that has become a favourite with critics and fans alike for the depth and slow-build of tension. The stripped back take on the song worked extremely well, allowing McGovern's vocals to shine.
"Pat Kenny said, 'Very dramatic stuff there from the Murder Capital' when he played that song on his show," James McGovern smiled as the final few notes concluded, which got nods of approval – and lots of conspiratorial grins – from the audience.
'Green & Blue' from the band's acclaimed 2019 debut album When I Have Fears took fans back to where it all started, reminding us of the heavy, dark subject matter explored on Album Number One. Here, the song was held together by a rumbling bass-line and drum beat, the reins being gradually handed over to the increasingly urgent guitars and to James McGovern's freewheeling voice.
The result was a deeply moving seven-minute odyssey of emotion, as the singer promised an unnamed subject that he'd "correlate the blue the green and blue the green for you."
The frontman informed the crowd that the acoustic "silk nighty" version of Gigi's Recovery single 'A Thousand Lives' might not shake the walls down, as their blistering live sets usually do – but the quiet power of the lyrics held strong in the a where you could really hear every word.
'We Had To Disappear' brought us back to the Murder Capital's own world, immersing us in McGovern's earnest, confessional words. "I'm dancing in the waves," he confessed, as swirling guitar instrumentation created a near-holy atmosphere around him.
"Has anybody here got tickets to our Vicar Street gig in February?" he asked afterwards, to huge cheers. Without a doubt, the Dublin city venue will be full to the brim next month. The Murder Capital are now officially a happening band.
The outfit thanked Hot Press for putting them on the cover, describing their joy at seeing the decades of historic covers in our office before their cover interview took place. "Making this record was a rollercoaster," James adds. "We went to Donegal, we spent ages - nine or 10 months - in Wexford, then London, we recorded it in Paris. It's amazing to see friends and family here. Big week for the Irish!"
James referenced the huge upcoming Irish presence at the Oscars – and, in almost the same breath, their own race to achieve their first No.1 album in their homeland. Throughout, The Murder Capital's pride shone through. Album highlight 'Crying' received an incredible response from the room, before recent single 'Return My Head' – James decrying the frustration of isolation, a theme which is never far from The Murder Capital's thughts.
"I had to realign
I gaze to the satellites
No spare change in promise"
After singing an impromptu 'Happy Birthday' to a delighted fan named Eamon near the front, The Murder Capital concluded their stunning set with the beautiful 'Ethel'. James McGovern, Damien Tuit, Cathal Roper, Gabriel Paschal Blake and Diarmuid Brennan took the song in cathartic direction – suffused with a real sense of hope – to finish on a high.
“‘Ethel’ is a picture of a crossroads asking you what you want from life," they said of the song upon its release. "Whether you want to continue down a path of chaos, or make a change in your course. It’s showing you what is possible when you make the decisions that bring a sort of cradled warmth into your future. The idea of ‘Ethel’ is that you can have what you truly desire if you put to rest those short-lived fixes that never bring you any real happiness.”
It was a fitting, and serendipitous end to their [email protected] performance – after which they spent hours chatting to fans and signing copies of Gigi's Recovery. What a privilege to catch them in a brilliantly intimate venue, before they hit the stratosphere.