I normally get to Dublin city a few times a year for a gig. This time it was all really decent local bands, so I decided now was another good time for a visit. So starting off at seven in the morning, I made my way in darkness to the local village in sweeping winds and snow. Where I live the Irish government doesn’t supply a bus service so I had a freezing van journey with a few sleepy others through a blanket of snow and on through a snow covered mountain gap to get to the next nearest town. By half eight, I was freezing and getting on a bus to Dublin city. Five hours later I arrived into Dublin, capital of Irelands political and corporate corruption. It’s recession, heroin, large class divides and a population which are crammed together in overly priced flats. This makes Ireland sound like a fucking shithole doesn’t it.
But like a lot of other places in the world, when a government treats it’s population like shit some people rise up and do things themselves. So after some Indian street food on Dublin’s Moore Street market I head up to meet Eric whose involved with a place called the Karate Club. Which is a collective and rehearsal space in the north side of the city. After a very nondescript entrance you pass down a hall of a gazillion black and white photocopied punk fliers and posters, of which behind is a soundproofed rehearsal room. After that a hangout area with table football, punching bag and of course heavily distorted musick blasting from speakers as folks are hanging about before tonight’s gig in Bohs Pheonix Bar. All this to me is a very impressive site to behold. As to be honest when I think of Dublin, I think of what I described earlier. But this is a real community of people, with no material gain in mind, just an alternative to every other oganisation in the country that wants to squeeze money out of you. It’s places like this that really embrace the Do It Yourself punk ethos. The whole idea of the diy punk scene put into reality by energy and enthusiasm. Something like this has more effect than a band can ever have.
So onto the gig that I was here for, bands playing were Putrefaction, Twisted Mass, Refraction, Okus, Burnchurch and Altered States. With a smoking ban in place there’s always a good few people outside. So I got chatting to various old and new friends, so then ended up missing Altered States. And heard they played really great sludgy riff fueled hardcore.
First band I got to see were Burnchurch, their first gig but members are all dab hands at this. With members having played previously in various bands, Easpa Measa, Divisions Ruin, Silence and more. Guitar wise this band is pushing things forward, I found I was looking at the guitarists layered riffs and constant changes all done with a great flow. Very melodic but heavy at the same time putting me in mind of bands like Sweden’s ‘To What End?‘. The vocal’s were so powerful, belted out without taking pause for breath. I think if I was to try and sing like that I’d pass out! Clodagh who previous to this sang for Easpa Measa, I reckon must have really concentrated on a vocal style change. As otherwise the band would go through the usual, where folks compare them to their previous bands. A short set, but an incredible one. Looking forward to seeing them again.
More local heavy music veterans Okus come on next. They deliver really dark bass heavy riffs with dual gruff vocals growled through menacing atonal riffs. Really bleak picking guitar and bass patterns which goes back and forth into grinding crust styled death metal. Even when one of the microphones started shorting, the deep growling vocals kept coming but in broken distorts. Truly monolithic and misanthropic, really looking forward to the release of their album.
The crowd since the beginning are all right up front near the stage, so I find it’s harder to get a good look at the bands at times. So couldn’t get the best of photos or no photos at all of other bands. Refraction came on and play instrumental post metal/hardcore. Some of the songs are from their new ep ‘Helixian’ coming out in the next while. I think the band combines the best of both emotional post metal and almost indie guitar at times to create great melancholic build ups intertwined with heavy hardcore stylings. Really well played and very tight.
Twisted Mass go straight for the jugular with speed and brutality. I couldn’t see them actually play at all as people were going pretty apeshit at this point. So every now and again you’d see a filthy baseball cap or a neck of a guitar knocking out some searing riffs. The vocalist belted out some real fucking guttural screaming. Real manic sweaty crust or as the band referred to it as ‘dolecore’. While things are chaotic, the last band of the night Putrefaction are up next with their apocalyptic crust which has gone down damn well here at camp CVLT. I think they have hit the nail on the head with their sound. Dirty, beefy and full of reverb, this is bombastic crust the way it should be. Lot’s of pounding fists in the air as well as feet! This has been a real decent gig and everyone was one top form.
It’s events and places like this that revitalises people. Afterwards a lot of folk went too a nearby squat which is another act of protest with so many empty houses that are in this city. In the squat I’m talking to a guy who is involved in a space/alternative bookshop in the very south of the country in Cork called Solidarity Books. And another who is setting up a bookshop and venue in Wexford, things are really happening. You have to admire how people take control of their own lives and not blindly except what’s put in front of them. There are other spaces around the country too of course like the Warehouse in Galway, Warzone Centre in Belfast, Seomra Spraoi in Dublin and I’m sure a few more I haven’t heard of. As some punk once said ‘Fuck the System’, now people will do it for themselves.