GIG REVIEW: Lionize, Dead Label & Support Live at Fibber Magees, Dublin
American rockers Lionize took their own, seasoned brand of hard rock on the road and made a stop off at none other than Dublin’s own rock and metal watering hole, Fibber Magees, or “Fibbers” to locals. With a four band bill, three of which acted as support on the night, the potential for an intense night of underground rock and metal was high. Unfortunately, however, for the most part it failed to deliver.,
The disclaimer “stage times are subject to change” is an essential one, yet it is one that warrants reason. Unforeseen technical issues and excuses of a similar nature can be forgiven, for to amend them is to work toward putting on the best show possible for both the bands and audience alike. What does not serve as an excuse is sitting bar side calling out for your whiskey when you are due to be on stage resulting in your bands set only starting a half hour past schedule, and in total an hour and a half past door opening times.
By the time Na Cruithne took to the stage, the crowd, however few in attendance, had their fair share of waiting around. With guitarists being fed pints mid song, this lead to sloppy, silly mistakes that only came across as rookie, amateur moves. While the band stated that this was a warm up show, they certainly made it feel like one as they came off disinterest and ultimately, uncaring.
zhOra could have been the pick up the audience needed, but in the end, failed to do so also. Going through the motions with less enthusiasm or excitement than a recluse who looks forward to stepping out on to the porch to pick up their Sunday newspaper, yet another discouraging warm up show was played
These warm ups as they were, existed to get those mentioned above in the spirit for their upcoming slots at this years Bloodstock.. While they may have been chosen to represent Ireland at the U.K festival, the responsibility may have been better placed elsewhere. Elsewhere being in the hands of the evenings co-headliners, Dead Label.
As of recently, it seems Dead Label can do no wrong. Since their follow up to the well received ‘Sense of Slaughter’, the band have been going from strength to strength, taking the metal world by storm with their latest release ‘Throne of Bones’. Dominating their audiences with a live show that is simply “Pure Chaos” and a whole lot of fun, when Dead Label took to the stage (on time, keeping the punctuality intact) they made the small room and attendance feel far grander than it was. By the end of their set, their humbled yet brutal approach to the night won the audience over and gave them a performance that, at this point, they not only needed, but one they very much deserved.
As the night grew late, Lionize made their presence known immediately. Nate Bergman, vocalist and front-man for the band, stepped on stage in a reflective and what must have been sweat riddled, gold one piece suit attire. Blistering through solo after solo and keeping the momentum alive with their big and infectious guitar hooks, Lionize began strong and carried this pace throughout the entirety of their set. While their performance never plateaued as such, it never weakened from its original start point, either. Not that there was much chance, given that when there was even the slightest whiff of a lull in the air, keyboard player Chris Brooks sent a bolt of electricity into the audience with his solos that, in truth, never got old.
What came across most about the evenings musical veterans is the fact that, despite remaining just on the outskirts of breaking mainstream for over a decade, the professionalism and poignant passion these musicians share has not seemed to slip through their fingers. Each note came as naturally as the one before it, and whether or not Lionize see the light of mainstream day, they are a true testament to what it means to be a band despite your stature. An invaluable lesson some of their support acts knew while others could do with learning.
Lest we forget that we no longer live in the days of rock and metal acts bursting on to the scene and selling out stadiums and arenas in mere heartbeats. The truth is that this generation of talent, and it does exist, lives in the underground. And while we are forking out blasphemous amounts of cash to attend what are essentially, more times than not, glorified greatest hits tours, the heart of what is to come is beating, pulsating beneath in the dive bars and rehearsal spaces ready to thrive. The latter of this evenings bill proved just that; that rock is not only not dead, it is still thriving. With the exception of their current life spans, Lionize and Dead Label showed that they do have at least one thing in common; the priceless ability to take any crowd in any room and show them a night worth remembering.