Sunday, 18 March 2018

Live Review: Bicurious EP Launch @ Whelan's - 15th March

Bicurious - Whelan's - Photo - Jack Farrell

Below photos: Remy Connolly

Info: On Thursday night last Dublin duo Bicurious held their launch night for debut EP, I'm So Confused in the new look upstairs at Whelan's. This was a show I'd been looking forward to for a few weeks because (a) based on the quality of their previous recorded singles I was able to get an inkling that this might be a raucous night and (b) I'd wanted to see one of the support acts, Tribal Dance, for quite some time. My idea of what to expect was woefully inadequate as you may tell from the videos featured here.

On arrival one of the support bands, Dublin trio Phazam Haze (below pics), who were brand new to my ears, were just taking to the stage, and they set the tone for the evening very nicely. This was going to be a loud, ear-bleeding fest, the prog-stylings of their rock, with top heavy riffs and fat grinding bass-lines got louder and louder as their set went on. The foundations for the energy that was to come in the venue was laid, the place was already approaching full and you could tell there was an air of slight concern that there may end up being too many in attendance by the time the headliners took to the stage, a good worry to have in the wider context!

Phazam Haze

Phazam Haze

Another trio from Dublin, Tribal Dance (below photos), slapped an additional layer of fast-paced and crashing math-rock and post-punk upon us. In truth they only gave us a small breather with their opening song and after that all bets were off, the ratchet of noise and chaos unfolded as lead singer and bassist Adam Smyth strafed the front of the stage, engaging with lead guitarist Stephen Dowling who gave us a healthy amount of face-melters. I've often shared my soft spot for drummers on these pages and all three on the night were quality, with Tribal Dance's Leo Clarke not shying away from giving the kit a jolly good thrashing as required.

Tribal Dance

Tribal Dance

Tribal Dance

And so to the pièce de résistance, Bicurious themselves, a two man team that sound like a five-piece, aided by a unique drum-kit setup and an absolute monster of a pedal-board, drummer Gavin Purcell and guitarist Taran Plouzané operate a highly efficient and tight unit. Earlier in the week GoldenPlec compiled a list of the best guitarists in Ireland at the moment and Plouzané rightly features, with GP describing his style as having; "...riffs (that) echo Billy Corgan’s finest work with the Smashing Pumpkins and Dave Navarro’s early offerings with Jane’s Addiction". High praise for the former Travis Oaks man, who along with Purcell on the night fully justified the billing, watch both below to get an idea.

From the groovy blues-rock moments that recall Blue Öyster Cult on 'Caged', to favourites such as previous math-rock infused singles 'Sugar Beats' and 'T.O.I.', Bicurious ripped ferociously through their set. The joint was heaving and there wasn't a spare square centimetre of space in the place, the crowd were under their control and out of control, with every moment of abandonment and head-banging making the floorboards underneath us bounce to the rhythm of the rage. It did cross my mind a couple of times that we may all end up in the main bar area below us if the floor fell through, I made peace with the idea half-way through the set and thought it would actually be a nice and fitting way to go out of this world. 

'Sleep', the lead track from their debut EP was an apex moment of the night (above video), chaos was in full swing and none of us in the room were aware of our surroundings any longer, it was primal, sweaty and an incredible blast of pure rock delight. There was no let up as the pair went through a brand new previously unperformed song and other highlights from I'm So Confused, including 'Fake News' and a favourite of mine 'Father'. I mentioned in a recent live review that I had already seen two phenomenal gigs this year at such an early stage, now this makes it a third one only half-way through March, and I think a tipping point in terms of previous years. I've had the immense pleasure of seeing incredible performances from Irish acts over the years, but I don't recall a year when I had seen so many in such a short space of time. I left Bicurious' show alive, drenched, a boot in the head and slammed against a wall twice, I'm still not sure how I stayed on my feet. The band, the support acts and the audience all played an absolute blinder, and it will live long in my memory for all the right reasons. Go see Bicurious as a matter of urgency, and wear heavy-heeled footwear.

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