Dublin – Saturday 13th July 2013
Bell X1 returned to perform material from Chop Chop their new album, produced by Peter Katis (The National) and Thomas Bartlet (Interpol/Antony & The Johnsons) to their devout cult following. Support came from Fionn Regan and We Cut Corners in The Iveagh Gardens, a picturesque and hidden treasure set right in the heart of Dublin city. The gardens resembled a large scale picnic, everyone was snug and comfortable at the back of the gardens, the easy vibe set the tone for the night.
Arriving on stage to screams and wolf whistles, Bell X1 trio: Paul Noonan, David Geraghty and Dominic Phillips huddled and performed “Drive By Summer” as the crowd rejoiced and swayed from side to side. More band members joined for “Starlings over Brighton Pier” adoring fans in the crowd were in heaven with their delicate harmonies. Trumpets glided and escalated while the background visuals displayed flocks of birds soaring and floating across a pale sky, a very romantic and authentic piece.
Noonan’s vocal range during “A Thousand little Downers”, strikes a nice balance of rough perfection alongside his idiosyncratic keys and scratching drums. “I’ll show you mine, if you show me yours” set hearts beating across the gardens. Thanking the crowd, Noonan, true to his local roots, shouted – ”Sure where would you get it?”.
Moving on they played “Bad Skin Day” with its quirky lyrics “And I can’t face my lover on a bad skin day, Am I this alone?…Oh Christ I’m such a drama queen on a bad skin day”. We swayed on to “Motorcades”, “Next to You” followed, however during “Flame” with its famous line – “I want to be near you and big in your life”, a sound fault stopped everything but not the momentum, in-fact it just gave the crowd time to run for food and drink.
Coming straight back to us in the middle of “Flame” sound glitch aside they performed perfectly and the crowd recommenced their bopping – after which Noonan shouted “Thank you so much for sticking with us!”. Everyone started dancing and making shapes in the red lights throughout “The Great Defector” with its Talking Heads style keys.
Lights dim and the band slow down the pace with “Eve” from Music in Mouth album with lyrics that get the crowd joining in – “You left, I died, I went and you cried You came, I think But I never really know I’ve served my time”. “Diorama” was followed by “Alphabet Soup” this simply set the crowd off into a wild dancing frenzy, lighters and mobile phones flickering in the darkness, closed by “The End is Nigh”. Darkness enveloped us, the band exited stage – only to return again to blast out “Move Up” and they absolutely rocked out to “Tongue”, finally ending on a high with “Rocky Took a Lover”.
Overall a great performance of new and old material, Chop Chop is probably the most authentic and raw material from the band to date and it seems as though Bell X1 have at last captured their sound and style. Imagine “The National” and “Talking Heads” jamming with “Bon Ivor” and you have the new album. The album is worthy of a lot of praise and a new following – listen to A Thousand Little Downers and Starlings over Brighton Pier.
Review by Áine Byrne
In association with Dublinconcerts.ie