Alias Empire (live in Dublin)
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Alias Empire (live in Crawdaddy, Dublin)
Review Snapshot: Happy, dizzy, sweaty: Alias Empire rocked a sell-out Antics night with enough synths to wake yer granddad.
The Cluas Verdict? 9 out of 10
I like disproportion. And I like sensory stimulation. This might explain my love of tiny daffodils, miniature Heroes and giant Jenga. It would also account for my pleasant feelings on walking into Tripod Wednesday night to see a huge white Raffaello on the ceiling, a giant stretched thong-like decoration, young girls with small knees and a DJ with a tiny head and gigantic round headphones.
Crawdaddy filled up nicely as Antics began to sell out. The time waiting for Alias Empire (formerly Dry County) to take the stage was spent posing in front of visuals that consisted of whales, fish and other little monsters swirling around in a sea of colour. The music began with Jape and Morrissey and ended up getting all tech-house-like which got the crowd excited.
Before Alias Empire came on, I'd already inspected their equipment – MS 2000B synth (impressive-looking), numerous other synthesizers as well as a stage densely packed with wires. The four-piece Dublin band powerfully began with an introduction that was stimulating – lights under their microphones, visuals that included nuclear mushroom clouds and chattering teeth. Their new image's presence showed with AE Kraftwerk style T-shirts that were perhaps a little too imitative for my liking. When they played Attention about five people suddenly got up onstage, with one chubby guy jumping out and trying to crowd-surf across a too-thin audience.
Alias Empire played like voracious electronic beasts with a synthesizer tour-de-force that showed off their older tracks and fluently introduced new material that the crowd enjoyed. A short power-cut at the start of the set was disappointing, but covered up easily when it suddenly surged back and the band were back on their feet. Lead singer Kevin gave as much energy as he does on the band's debut album, and he proved to be adept at multi-tasking both singing and synth-ing. The baseball capped lead guitarist was also a star, getting all Lager Lager onstage, giving himself naturally to the audience.
The standout track was 'Stop – Proceed', which emitted lots of energy for dancing around to, and encouraging Kevin to note that the 'girl at the front knew the words'. (Me, of course). The final climax came when the band rolled from Pins to their own version of Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger. This got the crowd worked up and in the mood for going next door to dance after the gig. The band proved that their material works on many levels, with dancing, crowd-surfing and stage-invading all obvious elements of the evening.