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.