The shining light of Project House opened its doors to us on Wednesday 8th November and The Murder Capital came out to a pulsating crowd. The air felt almost static with excitement, reverberating off the walls. They opened with ‘The Stars Will Leave Their Stage’, a dangerous feeling slow burner from their 2023 album, ‘Gigi’s Recovery’. There was a sea of palms raised towards the smoky purple stage, bobbing with the heavy drums and looping beat as lead Singer McGovern crooned softly about ships in the night. They followed with ‘More is Less’, a more belting, chanting tune. The sea of hands was replaced with thrashing mullets, as McGovern shouted down and leaned into the crowd.
Mid-way through the gig was title track ‘Gigi’s Recovery’, a slower song, and almost the epitome of the band’s growth since their debut 2019 album ‘When I Have Fears’. In the years since, the band have really found their own sound. While constantly compared to similar post-punk Irish bands, Fontaines DC and IDLES, they’ve evidently dug deep and unearthed the raw, heady power that lies heavy on the new album. In an interview with DIY, the band ranted about the money-hungry real estate taking over Dublin "the hotels are only a sidenote to the homelessness, the suicide, the mental health issues” with little thought to what help can be given. They are hankering for an improved attitude in their hometown and they want everyone to know about it. Self- releasing on their own label Human Season Records means there is a real weight in the meaning, every word considered and sung with such soul. The rattling tambourine paired with the clean guitar riffs, building drum sequence and looping synth creates a visceral experience. Irregular, spattering patterns punctuate the song, bathing the crowd in a feeling. The sound becomes more than a song.
They followed this with their recent September release “Heart In The Hole”, with long winding instrumental sections and this more deep, nuanced sound they’ve moved into, slightly drifting away from the raspy post-punk shouting. McGovern desperately looked out into the crowd, clinging onto the mic with a baggy black t-shirt hanging off his arms and led into “Ethel”, my personal favourite from the new album. The band checked in with the crowd: “Is everyone okay? No weird shit going on?” Project House makes for an intimate feeling venue and as a band they really leant into the energy of the crowd, bolstering it and even winking at my (occasional musical genius) flatmate Jack. As it led into the chorus, McGovern caught one fan from the frenzy and held his head in his hands. They sang forehead to forehead, long hair covering the pair as they clasped each other. As the song broke, he kissed his head. It felt almost religious.
For me, the standout track of the night was “On Twisted Ground”, from their debut record. The crowd shushed each other and fell to complete silence. Captivating cannot begin to describe the dedication between audience and band for the 6 minutes of this song. There was a sea of wide eyes and reverence as McGovern took total control of the whole room, filled only with the sound of his breathing, whistling and song. The stage light dropped so only the line of his jaw as he sung stood out amongst the swarm of red fog and single white spotlight. I felt shivers hit the pit of my stomach, real goosebumps as the song ebbed and flowed. The rest of the band, Tuit, Brenner, Blake and Roper played as a masterful entity, with a subtle loop pedal and delicately entangled symphony. It was the sort of song that reminds you why live music is so incomparably brilliant.
To finish the show, they played fast-paced noisy “Don’t Cling To Life.” Tuit and Roper really shone here, both on guitar and balancing the song. As mosh pits grew, McGovern looked closer and closer to diving headfirst into one. They ended on crowd favourite “Feeling Fades”, the defining post-punk ringer from their first album, as the crowd shouted back the winged words, more and more crowd surfers climbed, reaching higher and higher until McGovern finally did launch himself into the clawing hands that beckoned him. He sailed above the crowd, kicking and twisting and chanting “Punk is gonna be there for you”.
The stars will leave their stage
More is less
Return my head
The lie becomes the self
Heart in the hole
On twisted ground
Only good things
A thousand lives
Don’t cling to life
Words by Millie Cain she/her