Gig reviews

Midnight Juggernauts (live in Dublin)

May 28

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008  RssIcon

Midnight Juggernauts (live in Crawdaddy, Dublin)

Review Snapshot: Midnight Juggernauts shocked the crowd's systems with overwhelming spacey sounds that were smothered with starry synth and disco beats. In short, amazing. But support group Late of The Pier upstaged them: their flamboyant, dramatic dancing set the night up for more than just yer usual gig...

The Cluas Verdict? 9 out of 10

Midnight JuggernautsFull Review:
When you wake up with a creak in your neck from dancing, you know that last night's gig was good. The evening began with a small boy at the foot of the stage, dressed in what can only be described as a batwinged jacket fashioned out of golden tinfoil. The boy (okay, he may have been about nineteen...) approached my friend LJ, announced 'I have a maraca', shook said maraca, and then jumped onto the stage like some kind of wonderboy athlete on stilts. It was then that I realised the boy (dare I say, young lad?) was part of the act - he started playing one of the four synths onstage and shook his entire body around like an electrified puppet. This four piece band, Late of the Pier, made my night. Yes, I judged them. Yes, they looked like they'd stepped straight off a Klaxons Costume Night. But, yes, they blew the crowd away and stole the show.  

With a set that included tracks such as 'Focker', 'SPACE', 'Random' and 'Heartbeat', the titles can only begin to describe the energetic space tunes they knocked out. What was it? Rainbow music on red bull? Psychedelic merry-go-round tunes? It was indefinable, but the combination of a singer in ridiculously tight white jeans dedicating a track to the mythical 'black pig of Dublin'; a bass player with big lips alternating between synth, guitar-playing and amateur dramatics; and a tiny, crazy puppet who encouraged the crowd to 'hit the person next to you' seemed to really float my boat. The finale was the best - 'this is the part where we shake your hands' puppet boy said. And the band exited the stage from the front, shaking everyone's hands as they left the venue the way the punters came in. Brilliant! Energising! Exhausting!

After all the dancing and jumping of the first act, by the time Midnight Juggernauts came on I was almost feeling the creak. Almost. The Juggernauts put on an excellent show, building up their starry sounds with distortion and synth. The drummer was the real star; he reminded me of Animal from Sesame Street with a fuzzy face and head that bobbed up and down continuously. For anyone who has never heard the Juggernauts, just think of Justice, Air and Daft Punk, and then mix in three lads performing the tracks live, and you've got a good idea of the kind of sounds they made. Unfortunately, lead vocalist Vincent didn't have his voice as up to scratch as in their recordings.

For 'So Many Frequencies' a multicoloured xylophone emerged and the drummer tinkled away on it. However, the best tune had to have been 'Tombstone', where guitarist Andy took the synth and vocoder, and the drummer stood up on his kit - the band rocked the entire audience with the wall of sound. The crowd's favourite was 'Into the Galaxy' (the telling sign was getting pushed towards the stage), which had everyone throwing their hands up, dancing like crazy, and the band loved it. The drummer later poured a bottle of water over the crowd, who at this stage were sweating out unusual scents of ketchup (hope that wasn't me...). For the finale, '45 and Rising', the drummer took up his snare drum, hopped off the stage and placed it right in the middle of the crowd. He gave his sticks to a couple of guys, one of whom really played along professionally to the track. Before the end, the hard-working gothic roadie came back to reclaim the drum, and when it went back onstage the band finished off the night with climactic distortion and fuzzy amp noise.

After the gig, the Bang Gang DJs kept the tunes going in Tripod until late into the night. Both bands were there too, dancing away, and chatting to fans. This was, by far, one of the most surprisingly brilliant gigs I have been to. I think the creaky neck was worth it.

Niamh Madden

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