REVIEW: Girl Band were magnificent at Cyprus Avenue in Cork

REVIEW: Girl Band were magnificent at Cyprus Avenue in Cork

The two-metre rule was gleefully ignored in Cork at the weekend as Girl Band played a storming set that embellished their reputation as the most interesting – and possibly the best – group in the country at the moment.

A heaving Cyprus Avenue may have provided the perfect incubation conditions for the spread of Covid-19, but the sold-out gig also signalled the presence of a magnificently innovative force in Irish music.

The Dublin four-piece ride obviously have a grounding in various post-punk noise merchants, and while it's raucous at times, this music is far more than three-chord tricks and youthful aggression.

With little regard for long-established tune structures, and belting out a sound that often teeters on the edge of dissonance, you soon realise this is carefully-constructed fare.

The liberal use of 21st century production effects is at odds with their labelling as a guitar act, and part of the fun of seeing them live is trying to work out which instrument is creating particular noises.

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No show like a Girl Band show

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In Girl Band's hands, a guitar doesn't always quack like a guitar.

Cutting-edge indeed, but still with enough free-spirited spadginess in it that would have appealed to previous generation down the Arcadia circa 1980.

'Amygdala' kicks off proceedings, Dara Kiely letting loose primal screams over a track named after a part of the brain that controls emotional responses.

A highly-engaged crowd and the Cork venue's quality soundsystem also play their part in turning this into a memorable gig.

Most of the set is made up of tracks from the band's two albums on the Rough Trade label - Holding Hands with Jamie, and The Talkies.

'Paul' provokes the mosh-pit into a frenzy, and the sight of a crutch held aloft in the midst of the madness is an indication something miraculous is underway.

Hopefully, it's highly contagious.

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