Dublin Fringe Review: Meltybrains?

Review by Johnny Walsh

Sitting in the Abbey as the auditorium filled with people, it seemed that I was one of the few walk-ins who was not yet a die-hard Meltybrains? fan. The atmosphere was electric, and the band had not even graced the stage. If you were not excited by the prospect of seeing Meltybrains?’s collaboration with visual projection artists, Algorithm, the atmosphere in the theatre certainly made you so.

The setting was stunning, behind a white screen the band members emerged greeted by roars from the crowd. Behind them, the backdrop consisted of an enormous version of their signature white mask. Then the violin introduced the show with some melodic light plucking, almost sorrowful.

I did not know what to expect from Meltybrains? All I knew is that anyone who mentioned that they had seen them, loved them.

To say I was blown away by this performance would be an understatement. Algorithm made wonderful use of shadows on the screen for the opening numbers, before lifting the screen and making full use of the blank canvas which was the mask hanging behind them. The lights shifted through the members and was intertwined with the music in such a way that one was not possible without the other. Possibly my only complaint is that the sound left something to be desired at the start of the show, but this was later corrected.

The music weaved between light, melodic, folk-style music to heavy rock, to dance and to much, much more. To define them with a genre is likely to give one a headache.

It was more than a concert, creating a surreal experience that ranged from a robot’s head welcoming the audience to the gig, to a masked man beating pineapples to a pulp with a baseball bat. Everything that took place intrigued, entertained and provoked thoughts, though in the latter case the resulting thoughts could be drastically different between audience members.

Even if their electric, psychedelic, art-rock, or whatever genre it is they fit, is not one of your “types of music”, the experience of their concerts offers so much more. Though I was not a Meltybrains? fanboy when I walked out. 

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