A Monday night slot in one of Dublin’s smallest live venues may not sound hugely appealing to some, but apparently no one told Mini Mansions. Widely praised on their last visit to the capital back in early March – supporting Royal Blood at The Olympia – the Californian trio know exactly what’s expected of them on their return, and they’re in no mood to disappoint.
While the argument could be made that a gig as roundly advertised and quick selling as this would have suited a larger arena, it is one that’s promptly thrown out the window once the band starts to play. ‘Double Visions’, one of the many intensely rhythmic tracks from the excellent The Great Pretenders album, makes for an electrifying opening, with Michael Shuman, Zach Dawes, and Tyler Parkford all displaying their musical and vocal talents in wonderful symmetry. This is followed, much to the glee of the already bouncing Workman’s crowd, by the dainty, upbeat vibes of single release ‘Death Is A Girl’, a song that encapsulates the band’s experimental inclinations as much as their melodic prowess.
While their stage may be small, their sound is anything but as Mini Mansions, now fully announced, treat us to a riveting, thoroughly accomplished performance based as much on delicacy as it is on hard-hitting rhythms. Watching the raucous, multi-instrumental talents of Shuman, combined with Parkford’s whimsical synth and Dawes’ thrusting, at times manic, bass-playing, it’s difficult not to get excited.
Whether they’re blowing us away with explosive noise-rock screamers like ‘Geronimo’, ‘Honey, I’m Home’, and ‘Mirror Mountain’, soothing us into submission with the weirdly mellow sounds of ‘Creeps’ and ‘Heart of Stone’, or enlightening us with impromptu, yet wholly inspired, cover versions of Sparks’ ‘Sherlock Holmes’ and Blondie’s ‘Heart Of Glass’, Mini Mansions emanate an assured level of coolness and charisma that most modern bands could only dream of.
Seemingly oblivious to the uncomfortable humidity levels building in the heavily cramped room, the band remain perfectly poised. A slick rendition of radio-favourite ‘Vertigo’ nicely paves the way for a riveting conclusion that includes a mellow-as-you-like performance of a Brian Wilson-less ‘Any Emotions’, followed by the unmistakably catchy sounds of bombastic album opener ‘Freakout!’
Given the scale of the gig an encore seems unlikely, but in spite of Shuman’s sly admission that the band don’t know any more songs, enigmatic debut album favourite ‘Majik Marker’ provides a fittingly zany conclusion to what has been an intensely captivating performance.
Mini Mansions shot for State by Olga Kuzmenko.