And So I Watch You From Afar, those energetic pups from up north, were top of the bill for Irish indie label The Richter Collective presents gig on Friday night. ASIWYFA, as well as Richter Collective bands Jogging and Bats, packed Andrew’s Lane Theatre to the brim and served up a frenzy of fractured loud/quiet/loud numbers, raising the pulse of anyone within earshot.
Five years after making their start in small gritty venues in Belfast, ASIWYFA come to Dublin for the first date of what will be a sprawling seven week tour on the back of some highly-rated performances in North America, notably at SXSW in Texas as well as in Toronto. The foursome has played some near-legendary shows in Belfast at the Mandela Hall and the Ulster Hall in recent times, with some claiming the energy and excitement of these performances is comparable to seeing Therapy? in the early 90s. But can this hometown atmosphere be transplanted to Dublin and beyond?
Evidence certainly suggests so. There was a palpable sense of anticipation swimming around Andrew’s Lane Theatre on Friday night, with the converted mentally readying themselves for what was about to come and the newbies anxious just to see what all the fuss was about. Shortly after 9.30pm ASIWYFA came to the stage and as soon as opening number -Clench Fists, Grit Teeth… Go!’ had reached its thundering crescendo, just about everyone in the place knew exactly where they stood.
ASIWYFA delivered a chaotic set, full of precise, structured mayhem. Numbers like -S Is For Salamander’ and -D Is For Django The Bastard’, both from the recent The Letters EP, tested the Andrew’s Lane PA system to its very limits, which sometimes struggled to contain the sheer scale of sounds it was trying to process. Other songs like -The Voiceless’ displayed a more measured approach compared to some of its more explosive brothers like -If It Ain’t Broke… Break It’. -Set Guitars To Kill’ was notably absent from the set but if you were lucky enough to have been one of the handful of people to see them in Music Maker earlier that afternoon, you would have got your fix there.
By the time closer -Eat The City, Eat It Whole’ had run its course and the rather unflattering house lights came up, revealing just exactly how we all looked – all sweaty and wild-eyed – it was obvious that we’d been witness to something quite special. A lot of people woke up in Dublin on Saturday morning with their ears still ringing. I’m sure no one minds one little bit.
Photos by Kieran Frost.