by / January 30th, 2009 /

Amusement Parks On Fire, Whelan’s, Dublin

State arrives at Whelan’s just in time to catch the last song from The DC Experiment, a reggae-tinged rock-pop number called -Place Of God’, which receives a warm reception from the laudable scattering of people gathered on a wet Thursday night in January.

Second on the bill tonight are Dublin’s Butterfly Explosion [Ed’s note: Are these guys parting ways after recording their debut or what exactly?] who have reportedly not played for some time. The once three-piece are now five strong, with the noticeable addition of a keyboardist. The band have also brought with them a large crowd, filling the floor from front to back. Having played their fair share of support slots, tonight’s evidence suggests that it won’t be long before these guys are topping their own bill, and deservedly so, judging by the crowds reactions to some rather brilliant Mogwai-esgue post rock jams.

Like a mass tag team, the crowd seem to swap around for headliners Amusement Parks on Fire. To see this Nottingham five-piece live is to bi-locate in time and space: back to the dawn of the -90s when shoegazing had reached a critical zenith and forward to the hopefully not so distant future where bands invest in their sound rather than their image.

Though heavily influenced by the likes of early Ride and Swervedriver, the quintet have created their own contemporary sound. Building on perceivably simple song structures, their tunes are multi-layered, with chiming and squalling guitars, keyboards and whatever else is coming out of the iMac, all over chugging bass and rolling tom drums, creating an entrancing wall of sound. Michael Feerick’s vocal style is hazy, dream-like and lyrically ambiguous, backed up at times with three way harmonies.

With a set is drawn from both albums to date, A Star Is Born and Out Of The Angeles, Amusement Parks On Fire are refreshingly un-hip and not at all current. Instead, they are committed to their craft, hammering out churning melodies and heavy rock dirges like the sublime -Venus In Cancer’, to a fixated audience of thousand yard stares, including a number of English fans who organised a trip across the water via the band’s message board. We’re already looking forward to their return.

Photo by Julie Bienvenu.


  • Colin

    4th time seeing these guys and this was by far their best show(despite the power outage!). The noise onslaught with echo park/metal fuzz pedals at the end was brilliant I though. Butterfly Explosion were great I though. ‘Carpark’ is an amazing track and the new songs sounded great too esp. the last one.

  • Joe

    As I understand it Butterfly Explosion dissolved last year but the singer has recruited a new band and is working on the album?

  • Paul

    Butterfly Explosion have always had keyboards for as long as I’ve known them and performed as a 4-piece (drums, bass, guitar, keyboards with the guitarist and keyboardist lending the voices to the ensemble). The band split up last year after soon their intimate show in the Bernard Shaw sometime around August (don’t quote me on that my memory of when gigs actually happened is getting pretty hazy).

    Their sound has changed a little bit as both a female and male vocalist worked in harmony in the original line up but at the APOF gig in Whelan’s Gazz did the singing on his own and his vocals were alarmingly loud compared to the old Butterfly Explosion sound.
    They are currently working on a debut album.

    Amusement Parks on Fire were amazing as always!

  • Thanks Paul & Joe.

  • Nay

    I didn’t get in to BX’s slot on time but apparently the vox were problematic and not supposed to be as loud as they were.

    APOF’s set…magic…Venus in Cancer is indeed sublime, gwan with the legends AC30 are entirely, their third time bringing the band over and each time gets better than the last…

  • thanks! though i think ride and swervedriver are lame x

  • Jiffy