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