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Dirty Three and Josh T. Pearson

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cover imageEvery time I have caught Dirty Three in the past, I have never left the venue feeling anything but elated and it was no different this time. This was by far the most euphoric, sweaty and passionate performance I have seen them as they soared through their back catalogue with gusto. Although they have no new material to showcase, they captivated a packed house for what seemed like a glorious eternity as they played their hearts out as if this was their last night on earth.


9 December, Dublin, Ireland.

cover imageJosh T. Pearson was again filling the support slot for Dirty Three on this tour. His previous performance with the band during their last gig here was superb and it delighted me no end to find that he has blossomed even more since that night. Ditching the epic biblical mythologising of his former band Lift to Experience and leaving the anger of his previous solo performances behind him, his current songbook explores the crushing despair of a relationship going under. Pearson captures the real emotions that expose themselves during the end of a marriage, his gentle but authoritative guitar playing drenched in reverb providing a suitably sad backing to his lyrics.

Beginning with a rousing rendition of “1000 Miles” and following with an equally electrifying version of “I Remember a Time When You Used to Love Me” (both from Horse Stories), Dirty Three had the audience in their thrall for almost two hours. After these two pieces, Warren Ellis invited the audience to suggest songs to them as usual. Luckily (for me at least) he took my request, slowing down the pace of the concert with the solemn and beautiful “Sea Above, Sky Below” from Ocean Songs. Ellis’ mournful violin soaring over the tidal pulse of Jim White’s drumming, slowly brimming with intensity before dissipating into the night air.

What always impresses me about this band is how they interact on stage; Ellis keeps his back to the audience and locks eyes with Jim White with Mick Turner keeping a steady watch on both of them, tempering their explosive styles with his steady and calm guitar work. However, it cannot be said that Turner is only there to bring an air of calm to the music as his playing during “Alice Wading” testifies. Later, during a tremendous run through of “The Zither Player” (the shortest piece of the night but still longer than on record), all three members let loose and ooze raw energy from their respective instruments as Ellis encourages the audience to make love to the nearest stranger to them.

cover imageThe close of the set included the Dirty Three standards and crowd pleasers “Everything’s Fucked” and “Kim’s Dirt.” In between these two classics they included “Last Horse on the Sand” and what might have been the definitive performance of “Sue’s Last Ride.” By the end of the evening, the hum of perspiration and the buzz of good vibes had filled the room and it felt like this could go on all night but unfortunately Dirty Three wandered off exhausted and the venue staff started to usher us out on to the streets. Thankfully, although the evening’s set list was devoid of new material, the band promised that they would be back on tour next year with a new album. I’m already counting the days.

Last Updated on Sunday, 13 December 2009 15:16  


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