God Is An Astronaut at Whelan’s – Review and Photos
God Is An Astronaut at Whelan’s – March 22nd
As part of the on-going celebrations for Whelan’s 25th anniversary, space rock kings God Is An Astronaut took to the famous old stage for the first time in nearly 10 years to deliver a blistering performance.
The band are possibly one of Ireland’s best kept secrets, having become more well known across Europe than on these shores. With that in mind it was no surprise that accents from all over the world were dotted amongst the eclectic and appreciative crowd.
The crowd had come expecting great things and from the moment ‘Transmissions’ jerky robotic groove kicked off second song in, GIAA had the audience rapt via octave piercing solos, bone rattling bass and ferocious drumming, with the odd heavily effected vocal thrown in to mix things up.
‘Echoes’ is an early highlight with guitars trading savage riffs before the whole tune is brought to its epic conclusion with guitars aloft and heads bobbing at the front of the stage to huge roars from the crowd.
The level of musicianship on show is astounding and an absolute pleasure to behold. The band have been together for over a decade and it really shows as they intuitively click when playing together.
‘Spiral Code’s’ machine gun minor key riff segues brilliantly into ‘A Deafening Distance’, a song that’s seedy sci-fi synth line melts into a stunning cacophony of guitar noise at the end that raises the roof at its climax.
‘Fragile’ slows the pace mid set and it’s an achingly beautiful rendition. You can almost see the hairs rising on the back of people’s necks as it winds its way to its emotional conclusion.
The band have become known for the spectacular light and visual shows that accompany their shows. While those are absent tonight you would hardly miss them such is brilliance of GIAA’s performance.
‘Calistoga’ gets the best reception of the night. A soaring up tempo riff and quirky effects laden vocal have the crowd in raptures from the moment the first note of the song is played.
There are nice moments from the band, who pay tribute to the late Derek Nally and point out at several junctures that Whelan’s were the first venue in Dublin to give the band a break and let them play. It all adds to the celebratory feel of the evening, which the band say is their favourite night of their tour.
We’re even treated to a brand new, so recently out of its box that it’s still unnamed, tune. The song’s driving rhythms, choppy power chords and descending bass line mix together into a glorious wall of sound. This is a tune that’s sure to be a live favourite for many years to come.
After ‘Fireflies And Empty Skies’ the band disappear for the briefest of moments before emerging for a three song encore. ‘Suicide by Star’ stands out as the pick of the encore. Ferocious shredding over intricate bass and monstrous double bass make the whole room shudder.
This was a truly awe inspiring gig from a band who know how to put on an amazing show and have the chops to pull it off. A stunning performance from an incredible group of musicians.
Review by Mark O’Brien
Photos by Chris Charousset