By Killian Laher
In my view New Year’s Eve is a lot of fuss over nothing but always glad to find a good gig to go to. And So I Watch You From Afar were back in Whelan’s just 5 weeks or so since storming the place on the FMC tour. Would they measure up to a second scrutiny so soon?
The first act of the night was Hunter-Gatherer, which was basically a man with no face. Yes, really. His face was masked completely by some kind of hooded mask. What he delivered was fairly unconventional, glitchy electronica, heavily reliant on ambient, trancey keyboards and guttural bass which you could feel in your bones. He had an impressive light show, centerpiece of which was a TV test card. Unfortunately he was going for a kind of hammer-horror feel which felt kind of sinister and interesting at first, but the effect wore off rendering it a bit tame in the end.
Jogging stormed on to the stage with lots of energy and propulsion, a 3 piece playing heavy rock with a Therapy? feel to it. They seemed like they were going to be really good but something was missing. Rhythmically all over the shop, the bassist went for a Cradle of Filth vocal which didn’t really work. This combined with some underwritten songs actualy made the crowd thin out a bit and head for the bar.
ASIWYFA came on triumphantly, all heavy guitars and dodgy hair and tore it up right from the start. D is for Django the Bastard was a visceral thrill. The song is quite basic but it’s quite wonderful hearing the band play it loud and go bananas on stage. There was time to air a new song which sounded promising, not too dissimilar from Straight To The Sun before the crowd decided to join in with the mayhem. A Little Bit of Solidarity Goes A Long Way saw the first of many stage dives before the crowd-surfing began. Sure I’ve seen it before but it’s hard not to get carried away with the sheer excitement of it all. Eat The City, Eat It Whole, one of the more passive numbers on their album, was ripped up on stage and was a definite highlight.
The encore saw a sizable proportion of the crowd up on stage as ASIWYFA tore through Set Guitars To Kill and Don’t Waste Time Doing Things You Hate. But words are futile. There aren’t words to convey how this band makes you feel. I am insanely jealous of anyone who hasn’t seen them as the rush of seeing them for the first time is special. But they definitely triumphed again in Whelan’s with a really vital performance full of energy and bulldozer riffs.