THE MURDER CAPITAL – RESIDENT, BRIGHTON 22.1.23
Anybody walking past Kensington Gardens in the North Laine of Brighton on Sunday evening couldn’t miss the long queue forming outside Resident Records for The Murder Capital’s instore session. The Murder Capital released their second album ‘Gigi’s Recovery’ on 20th January and were promoting it with a record store tour and signing sessions around the UK and Ireland.
Back in 2019 I saw The Murder Capital’s instore at Resident for their debut album ‘When I Have Fears’, which was a very lively affair. Singer James McGovern and one of the guitarists ended up performing standing on the counter at that session.
Fast forward three and half years, Sunday’s session was much calmer. At 6:44pm The Murder Capital emerged from the back of the store to start their stripped back acoustic session.
The first song of the set was ‘Only Good Things’ from the new album. James sang backed by guitar and drum, adding tambourine during the song. This gentle number was suited to the style of an instore. This was followed by another new track ‘The Stars Will Leave Their Stage’.
James introduced the third track ‘A Thousand Lives’ saying it would be played “As if it were dressed in silk going off into the evening after the watershed”. Diarmuid Brennan played cymbals on this track more than the drums. The accompanying guitars were more prominent on this as well. The music faded out leaving James to finish the track almost unaccompanied.
As it was an instore event, everybody had bought a copy of the album from Resident – get yours HERE. James asked “Has everyone got the record?” Then joked, “I’ll ask you individually what you think of it.” Given that Resident was packed, that would’ve taken ages.
The Resident instore was the first time The Murder Capital had played an acoustic version of the next track ‘We Had To Disappear’. The guitars were more intricate on this melancholy song.
Although the following track was announced as “Another new track …”, it was in fact from their debut album ‘When I Have Fears’, the incredibly dark song ‘Don’t Cling To Life’. This was a very moving part of the session.
After the next song ‘Crying’, James explained how much it meant to the band that people came out to see them play “after being away for so long. It blows our minds.” The band seemed genuinely thrilled to be in the more intimate setting of an instore close to their audience.
The acoustic interpretation of title track of the new album, ‘Gigi’s Recovery’ had a very classic Spanish guitar sound.
James asked “Anyone coming to see the tour? It’ll be different to this. Spicier!”.
When The Murder Capital gave Brighton music fans a preview of some tracks from the new album at Chalk during the Mutations Festival, there was obviously a different arrangement and sound from the instore session. While at Chalk there was more emphasis on the musicians, at the instore they had to take more of a back seat role to James’s singing. At Chalk, James was able to take a few moments sitting on the crash barriers, watching the rest of the band or head off into the mosh pit; he obviously couldn’t do that at Resident.
The penultimate song of the session ‘Return My Head’ was the most up-tempo number of the evening.
Before the final number somebody suggested The Murder Capital went onto The Hope & Ruin to see Meryl Streek that night. After thinking award-winning actress Meryl Streep was at Resident, the conversation went something like this:
James: “What are they like?”
The person in the audience: “Irish”
“What shit do they play?”
“Is our shit that easy to copy?” was James’s witty response much to the amusement of his fellow band members and the crowd. If Meryl Streek sound your bag, then a return concert is already booked at the Green Door Store in Brighton on Tuesday 30th May – Tickets HERE.
It is definitely not a case of The Murder Capital copying their own “shit”/sound on ‘Gigi’s Recovery’. It is quite different from ‘When I Have Fears’. It has a less angry and brighter feel to it, showing an evolution from the rage and dark lyrics about death and loss featured heavily on their debut album. This progression in their style and their acoustic reworking of the songs worked very well at Sunday’s in store.
After a round of ‘Happy Birthday’ for somebody in the audience and the final song of the session ‘Ethel’, the band made a point of thanking Resident for their support and supporting new upcoming acts.
I’m not usually a fan of acoustic sets, but The Murder Capital pulled it off superbly at Resident. Unfortunately, on their full UK tour in February, they won’t be returning to Brighton. Based on the quality of the performance and material showcased at Resident on Sunday, it’ll be well worth a trip to see them at The O2 Forum, Kentish Town on 23rd February – Tickets HERE.
The Murder Capital:
James McGovern – vocals
Damien Tuit – guitar
Cathal Roper – guitar
Gabriel Paschal Blake – bass
Diarmuid Brennan – drums
‘Only Good Things’ (from 2023 ‘Gigi’s Recovery’ album)
‘The Stars Will Leave Their Stage’ (from 2023 ‘Gigi’s Recovery’ album)
‘A Thousand Lives’ (from 2023 ‘Gigi’s Recovery’ album)
‘We Had To Disappear’ (from 2023 ‘Gigi’s Recovery’ album)
‘Don’t Cling To Life’ (from 2019 ‘When I Have Fears’ album)
‘Crying’ (from 2023 ‘Gigi’s Recovery’ album)
‘Gigi’s Recovery’ (from 2023 ‘Gigi’s Recovery’ album)
‘Return My Head’ (from 2023 ‘Gigi’s Recovery’ album)
‘Ethel’ (from 2023 ‘Gigi’s Recovery’ album)