Gig review: Earth at Whelan’s, Dublin

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The appearance of Seattle rock n roll royalty, Earth generated an old fashioned queue for entry into Whelans to see pioneers of drone-rock Earth. Support act Wild Rocket opened the night with a seriously loud sound, a combination of heavy guitars, somewhat cheesey keyboards, gonzoid vocals and diaphragm-rattling bass. Playing dark, doomy intense songs like Layers, their sound was heavily in thrall to Black Sabbath.

The Old Testament-like figure of Dylan Carlson took the stage with Adrienne Davies on drums and Bill Herzog on bass. Kicking off with the slow, lengthy boil of Badgers Bane (from forthcoming album Primitive and Deadly), the sound was loud but not over-powering, suiting funeral-paced heavy plodders like Even Hell Has It’s Heroes. The overall effect was like a loud, droney and ponderous (in a good way) Crazy Horse. Although vocal-free, Carlson introduced the songs in his weedily incongruous voice, amidst towering guitar epics like Old Black and There Is A Serpent Coming.

The Bees Made Honey In The Lion’s Skull was a high point, Carlson and co teasing the crowd by inserting climactic pauses into the snail-paced racket. Torn By The Fox Of The Crescent Moon was probably the finest of the new songs, ‘riffier’ and heavier than what had gone before, and it segued into Ourobouros Is Broken which concluded the evening, taking dead slow rock n roll to its logical conclusion.

At times it was patience-stretching: long, drawn-out versions of already long, drawn-out songs. While there was little variety on show, the seven songs played had an exploratory, almost trance-like effect, at times evoking a really slow and heavy instrumental version of The Cure. Or the sound of an elephant on sleeping pills.

Killian Laher

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