God Is an Astronaut: The Button Factory, Dublin. 18th January 2008

Posted: January 22, 2008 in Music
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

God Is an Astronaut - Lloyd Hanney, Niels Kinsella, and Torsten Kinsella

God Is an Astronaut are about to embark on a tour of the USA before trekking across Europe this summer, so tonight’s performance will be their only Irish show of the year. It comes as no surprise then that their fans have turned out in force, with the crowd packed snugly into the recently renovated Button Factory.

I arrive just as support act Saints of Descent are taking to the stage. I’ve heard a lot about these guys and I’m interested to see what all the fuss is about. But to be honest, they’re something of a disappointment. Their publicity material describes them as ‘rock/industrial’ but on hearing them it’s evident that they’re too slick and commercial to be truthfully labelled as such. The only industrial link I can imagine is that one of the guys must have a Nine Inch Nails record lurking somewhere at the back of his CD collection. On a positive note, the trio are adept musicians who obviously enjoy playing together, but right now their material is just too ‘safe’ and predictable for them to fulfil their potential.

It’s not often that you see headline acts helping their roadies set up but that’s exactly what God Is an Astronaut do. And after stepping offstage briefly to let the lights go out for their ‘official’ entrance they reappear, strolling coolly to their respective instruments, whilst the band’s name shines brightly on the large projection screen behind the drum kit. They promptly launch into ‘The End of the Beginning’ – the title track from their first album – and with accompanying film footage on the screen it makes for an impressive audio-visual experience.

For me, only two bands have really perfected the art of combining visuals with music in a live situation; one is Tool and the other is playing right here before me tonight. Even groundbreaking acts such as Neurosis fail to make the grade in an area where the addition of an extra sensory element often serves to distract, rather than compliment the experience. The audience has become so engrossed that they just stand still and watch in awe, only coming to life to shout and yell their appreciation at the conclusion of each song.

‘Fragile’, ‘Radau’, ‘Suicide by Star’, ‘From Dust to the Beyond’, ‘Sunrise in Aries’, and recently released stand-alone single ‘No Return’, are all performed with a flawless consistency that I’ve rarely witnessed from any band before. Before playing the opening notes to ‘Fire Flies and Empty Skies’, Torsten Kinsella breaks his silence to thank the crowd and urges them to keep up-to-date with the band’s progress via their website and MySpace page because, as he says, “you’re not going to hear about it in the media.” Which is sad but true; with the exception of a couple of radio stations, God Is an Astronaut have been criminally overlooked by the Irish music press despite their rapidly-growing profile abroad.

The band departs the stage but return soon after, much to the delight of the audience. And there’s an extra treat in store, too, as the threesome perform ‘A Deafening Distance’ – a song that has been absent from their set for a couple of years. Once the music’s over, the guys hang around to shake hands and talk with the fans, which is a refreshing sight. And, when posed with the question, they admit that they’ll be returning to the studio once their summer tour is concluded. Fantastic news indeed!

It may only be January, and therefore any talk of ‘gig of the year’ is premature, but it’s going to take something very special to outdo God Is an Astronaut on the strength of tonight’s performance.

 

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Comments
  1. It will take a hell of a lot to beat this gig!

  2. DrShock says:

    Couldn’t go, knew about it for ages, last time I saw them was there with McKee! Rapid! Great site dude, Stay on Track! :)

  3. Cheers Doc. Apparently they want Fearghal to put vocals to one of their songs at some stage… now that would be interesting!

  4. Lauren says:

    I’m pumped for the Baltimore show!!! WOOO!!

    I’m so glad you turned me on to them, Patrick ;)

  5. tenacioustimothy says:

    Missed this show but saw them at Tripod last year- one of the best gigs of the year!

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