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Khanate, The Village, Dublin, November 21st

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It’s cold when Khanate visit town on the It’s Cold when Birds Fall from the Sky tour. The icy atmosphere outside the venue managed to seep into the band’s performance as they were positively chilling.

The first support act, Wreck of the Hesperus, was in a similar vein to the headliners but not close enough to be  a Khanate clone. They blended pre-recorded drones and noise with a doomy bass and guitar attack. Their drummer was the star though, playing subtle, atmospheric beats that sounded like death knocking on a very large door. On the other hand the second support band, Oak, were like a poor Melvins tribute, sped up. They could have been a lot better if their guitarist didn’t turn his amp on to “compensating for a small penis” loudness and actually allowed the other two members of the band to be heard. Not only did I feel their performance lacked, I thought they were totally unsuitable for the night in question, Wreck of the Hesperus had created a nice veil of darkness just perfect for Khanate to continue from but Oak shattered that and kind of killed the mood for me.

When Khanate did take to the stage there was a palpable sense of expectation in the crowd. Starting off with “Commuted” the band were crushingly loud, not painful but enough to leave me mostly deaf in my left ear for the next day. Dubin’s vocals were heavily drenched in reverb which I feel reduced the impact of the lyrics (on the record his drier vocals are frightening). I felt that I wasn’t getting the full effect when I didn’t shudder every time he roared “RED GLORY!” Apart from that one problem, there was nothing else wrong with the performance.

Khanate hit all the right buttons without ever seeming to be going through the motions. Plotkin’s bass was direct and powerful. Every note he hit sounded like an impending apocalypse. O’Malley’s guitar was as expected: loud drones and feedback. Both Plotkin and O’Malley seemed to be throwing caution to the wind and letting the amps do the playing at times. All of this was brought together by Wyskida’s impeccable drumming. He kept a leash on the entire band whilst giving them a platform to launch themselves from. Not to be outdone in the noise stakes he did contribute a fair amount of his own din to the show. Unfortunately there were a few times during the night when I though he was a bit lost in the mix.

Khanate played for just over an hour with a whopping three songs in the set. “Release” for the middle twenty or so minutes saw them really get into their stride. Live this song lacks a lot of the studio version’s dynamic subtleties but it makes up for it with buckets of ferocity. “Under Rotting Sky” finished off the evening in a style that would make all of hell stop and take notice. Khanate live was a cleansing and cathartic experience.

Last Updated on Sunday, 27 November 2005 12:04  


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