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Pelican, Whelan's, Dublin, December 17th

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After a few years of relative obscurity, Pelican seem to be coming quite hip in the Southern Lord/Hydra Head metal scene but they have the talent to rise above being just another band with Sunn amps and downtuned guitars.


Opening the night’s proceedings were Dublin band Oak who I had the misfortune of seeing support Khanate a few weeks ago. I was willing to give them a second chance but they seem to have gotten worse in the short time since I’ve seen them. The bass player may as well have been at home for all his contributions, he’s the first bass player I’ve heard to completely remove all the bass from his sound so that he’s left with the pathetic, flaccid sound of his fingers hitting off the strings. Following Oak were Ten Past Seven who came across as something along the lines of the Dillinger Escape Plan but funnier. They didn’t do much for me but they were entertaining and handled their instruments well. At times they rocked quite hard but strayed into self-indulgent noodling a bit too often for my liking.

Pelican got on the stage and I started to worry. Who I took as being trendy hipsters in the audience there just for the sake of being there turned out to be Pelican. They plugged in and started playing “March into the Sea” which absolutely floored me. As the song went on, they got even better. What makes Pelican an interesting band is that they don’t go for this fashionable doom-type drone but instead aim for something that is heavy, melodic and leaves you feeling in good spirits. They remind me of Isis minus the vocals but just that bit better.

They worked their way through most of their latest album, The Fire in our Throats Will Beckon the Thaw, songs like “Last Day of Winter” and “Autumn into Summer” showing them in full rock out mode and their more delicate playing. I liked the way that no member of the group seemed to try to out play or drown out the others, everyone had their role in the group and stuck to it. I’ve found in a lot instrumental bands (like Oak earlier in the night) that one person, usually a failed vocalist turned guitarist, tries to play louder than everyone else and ruins the flow of the performance. No such problems in Pelican.

Finishing off the night with an encore of the epic “Australasia” from the album of the same name, Pelican left the stage to greet a euphoric crowd. This gig was a nice, cheery way to end the gigging year.


Last Updated on Wednesday, 21 December 2005 06:21  


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