by / December 2nd, 2008 /

Ladytron, Tripod, Dublin

This is Ladytron’s second Dublin concert this year, with their last appearance being a quite magnificent performance at the same venue back in May. While tonight’s show hasn’t sold out, there’s still a healthy crowd assembled and waiting patiently as support act Asobi Seksu wail their way through a rather lengthy set.

The Liverpudlian quartet make a decidedly low-key entrance and herald their arrival onstage with ‘Black Cat’, the lead single from their latest long-player, Velocifero. Two more new tracks quickly follow, in the form of ‘Runaway’ and ‘Ghosts’, before older material surfaces with renditions of ‘High Rise’ and ‘True Mathematics’.

All is not well, however. Besides the appalling sound quality, the band’s body language suggests that they really don’t give a damn about this gig. The sentiment is transmitted to the crowd from the very beginning and, for the most part, the onlookers remain motionless and greet the conclusion of each song with polite applause and some half-hearted cheers. Helen Marnie’s attempt to inject some much-needed energy, abandoning her mic stand to roam freely about the stage, does little to alleviate the situation. It’s a stark contrast with their previous visit, when they played with vitality and a sense of purpose – if not much visible movement – and the crowd welcomed each song with deafening shouts and rapturous rounds of applause.

There is a brief respite for the underwhelmed fans when the band play ‘Seventeen’, which, in spite of everything, sounds quite good. However, a flaccidly tame version of ‘Destroy Everything You Touch’ follows, before Ladytron abruptly depart the stage. Hopes of an encore are quickly dashed as crew members switch off equipment and the curtain is drawn.

From start to finish, tonight’s set has clocked in at barely 45 minutes and has comprised of a measly 12 songs. There is no outing for heavy-hitters like ‘Evil’, ‘Playgirl’, ‘Blue Jeans’, ‘Discotraxx’ or ‘Sugar’. Astonishingly, the group have also neglected to play any songs whatsoever from their excellent 604 album, while there are only two token tracks from Light & Magic.

A morose line of punters quietly files out of the venue after tonight’s show, most of whom are finding it hard to come to terms with what they have just witnessed. Ladytron have done more than just disappoint: it’s hard to shake the feeling that we’ve been cheated, both with the miserly length of their set and the manner in which they’ve approached it. Let’s hope it has been a rare off-night rather than the shape of things to come.

Ladytron, Tripod, Dublin, November 30th 2008

  • Yikes, glad I wasn’t there. At least they played for over an hour the last time.

  • Anthony G

    A good review of a very bad event.

    I listened to Light &Magic a few years back and thought it a very fine album but somehow never really came across them since then. When I recently saw they were playing in Dublin, I thought it might be worth catching them live. To familiar myself with their new material, I got a copy of the new album a week or two before the gig and was quite looking forward to it.

    ‘Black Cat’ is probably my favourite track from the new album but they ruined it when they opened the show with a shambolic performance of it. Worse again, the bass was turned up so high that it was seriously distorted and caused a physically unpleasant feeling. Ditto for the next tune, after which it was no longer physically unpleasant but still prevented enjoyment of the music. They only really got the sound mix half-way decent about 30 minutes into the gig.

    The band’s performance was lacklustre, uninispiring and devoid of energy or passion. I’ve been to plenty of electronic and ‘post rock’ bands which just stand up on stage and play without any interaction with the audience but their music speaks for itself. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case on Sunday night. It was toward the end of the gig (last three songs) that the lead singer started getting into it and looking as if she was into the music they were performing.

    I have to say 17 was great and I actually enjoyed Destroy Every Thing. I’ve been to a few gigs where it takes the band a while to get into their stride and I thought this was the case here. I was expecting another at least another four or five tunes. Instead, they promptly walked off the stage and left us with the memory of a mere two good tunes for the night.

    In 20 years of going to gigs, I can safely say this was the worst one I ever attended. To give them the benefit of the doubt, I would hope that the reason is fatigue from over-touring.