Workhouse Brides at Whelan’s – Review
Dublin group Workhouse Brides played upstairs in Whelan’s on Thursday 15th of August.
They started off the set with ‘Keep Your Powder Dry’. The opening was gentle with effects that sounded like the ocean before a sudden kick of drums that meant the night was really starting. There was a great echo on the vocals which really added an edginess to the track. It was very rock-y with a strong emphasis on the drums. There was a nice quieter section where the bass drum got toes tapping around the room. They took it up a notch just before the end making it loud, hard and damn near over-whelming! The gentle wind down to finish was smothered by the enthusiastic roars of the crowd.
The guitars screamed straight into second track ‘A Life Deprived’ with a great swell of explosive, building sound. The drummer expertly twirled his drumsticks between the faster sections and guitarist and bassist alike looked like their strumming hands might fly right off. It finished in a mind-blowing crash of cymbals and guitar.
They introduced third song ‘Chemical Straitjacket’ which opened with the focus on the bass-drum and guitars before exploding into another impressively powerful number! There was a lot of reverberation on the vocals when they came in and transformed the song. The lads looked so at ease while playing; the music commanded the crowd’s attention without the band having to pose about or show off. Towards the end, pauses in the loud music made you feel like your heart had actually stopped for a second or two-incredible!
They took a moment to thank the other act of the night, The Choir Invisible, for the use of their equipment before proceeding into the next track: ‘Lustre’. This had a grungier vibe to it, very garage jam. It was a little bit old school in the best get-into-your-head-and-under-your-skin kind of way. The end was once again a wild torrent of crashing cymbals and uproarious crowd appreciation.
They were really getting into their strides now, expressions of passion and focus across the board as they started into ‘Scarlet Fever’. Opening percussive line for this track was indescribable-the kind of drumming that gets you going and almost makes you say out loud ‘God this is good!’. There was plenty of whammy on the bass and a slightly melancholy lilt to the lyrics. It was a little longer than the other tracks but really got the crowd going from start to finish.
‘Trial By Fire’ had another great opening drum-line which was joined in a squeal of guitar. This is one of their better known songs and was really fast and edgy with a great quiet section followed by another instrumental explosion. It reminded you of the kind of song that would be in an edgy, adventurous drama. This was quickly followed by penultimate tune ‘ID’ who’s heavy opening guitar riff was met with shouts and camera flashes as people made the most of the end of the set. The band made the most of it too with plenty of cool effects especially with the whammy on the bass. They also got a clap going with just the bass drum helping us keep time and it all kicked in even louder than before with shrieking bass effects and a mental drum and guitar rise that saw chips flying off drumsticks.
They tapped into the last song ‘Dogsbody’ which had a completely different style to it, a different sound on the guitar and a little grittier. The lyrics wove seamlessly into the instrumental and the whole song had a phenomenal energy that had feet stamping and yet more flashes going off. It was an all-round epic final tune with the bassist playing one handed at one stage. Towards the end the bass and drum seemed almost to be competing right up to a pause, filled with shouts from the audience, before an epically loud verse before spiralling into freestyle before finally finishing to rapturous applause and raging drums and cymbals!
Overall it was a brilliantly played set, showed plenty of variation and frankly just blew the crowd away. The show was too big for the venue and the music was epically energetic and consuming. A great musical experience.
Review by Kat Clinch