Live: MESHUGGAH – Vicar Street, Dublin (18/01/17) Posted: 29/03/2017 by Philip Morrissey

Following on from Danny Fitzgerald’s interview with THE HAUNTED after their return to an Irish stage last January 18th. We now bring you Philip Morrissey’s observations and review of the nights headliners… the mighty MESHUGGAH!!!
If the ten years between THE HAUNTED’s last visit, had fans of theirs impatient, then those gathered to see MESHUGGAH were positively insatiable. A brief support date back in 1995 had been all Irish fans had to see of their heroes. Since then, all had gone quiet on the prospect of another appearance. Year after year, select dates had been announced with no sign of Ireland on those posters. Rumours abounded of the costs that it would take, issues with the management or a preference to concentrate on festival dates and one-off shows. Tentative hopes were risen, only be be dashed on a multiple of occasions.

When it was announced that they were to finally play here again last June, people could scarcely believe their eyes. Originally scheduled for The Academy, this was quickly upgraded to Vicars Street when it was clear that demand was out-stripping supply. And it seemed that music fans of all descriptions had come out, up and from there to bare witness to tonight’s spectacle. Any fears that the upgrade in size would not have worked out, is quickly put to rest. The sense of anticipation in the air is palatable and flickers with excitement. The chat slowly eases to a hush as a pulse emanates from the PA system indicating the start of the show.

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A roar greets their entrance. They blast straight into ‘Clockworks’ and ‘Born of Dissonance’, from the recent ‘Violent Sleep of Reason’ album. It may have been an album that left some fans cold on its release, but it sure as hell was able to light things up. Their compressed, brutal sound deviates between flat out aggression and moments of undeniable beauty. The dizzying array of time signatures is enough to make many stare open-mouthed. ‘Sane’ is perhaps not what many perceive is what happening in front of them. A dip into 2002’s, ‘Nothing’ sees the one-two of ‘Perpetual Black Nothing’ and ‘Stengah’. It of course marking the point where they started experimenting with 8-string guitars and heavier, but slower, tempos.

The intensity of the music is one thing but it becomes almost hypnotic when combined with the light displays. It is synced up perfectly to match the accompanying beats and rhythms. It feels as if you are almost enveloped into the whole experience.  ‘The Hurt That Finds You First’, leads wonderfully into ‘Lethargica’ from Obzen. The band is almost entirely hidden in the lights but they make their presence felt. The interplay especially between Fredrik Thordendal and Marten Hagstrom. The band returns to their latest release via its title track and ‘Nostrum’. Whatever mutterings there was about the recorded version, it comes across extremely powerfully tonight. And perhaps the star of the show in terms of power, is undoubtedly drummer Tomas Haake. Even if you are not a fan of the band per say, you cannot fail to be astonished by the mans technical abilities. It is drumming porn for many.

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The magnificent ‘Dancers to a Discordant System’ and ‘Bleed’ sees a virtuoso rendition of these ‘Obzen’ classics. It is almost note for note imitation of the studio versions. A brief step off-stage, sees the crowd chanting for more. This is duly delivered in the guise of ‘Demiurge’ from ‘Koloss’ and the eternal classic ‘Future Breed Machine’. Basically the song that every Djent band has built their career upon. This is spoiled somewhat by feedback at points but not enough to ruin it altogether. Vocalist Jens Kidman, who had been relatively brief in communicating to the audience, pipes up towards the end. He recounts that particular show with MACHINE HEAD in the SFX and shows his appreciation to all who came tonight and last night in Dublin. The 1500 people here roar their approval, before heading out into the night, head still spinning from what they had witnessed. It would be nice if the next gig wasn’t as long in the wait.

Reviewed by Philip Morrissey.