Given the calibre of acts which have played Bedford Esquires this year, it’s tough to pick a highlight of 2019.
However, The Murder Capital’s sold-out headline gig last week may just take the crown.
The Dublin based five-piece are on the road, touring in support of their acclaimed debut When I Have Fears and their show at Esquires was a post-punk masterpiece.
Arriving on stage to wails of feedback from their guitars, their nine-song set oozed brooding, dark energy punctuated with frantic, stabbing guitars and frontman James McGovern's captivating vocals.
The Murder Capital opened with the first two tracks from their LP, For Everything and More Is Less, both of which firmly established the blueprint of the band’s sound.
From there on in, they played almost all of their debut album, albeit out of order, to an audience hanging on every note and every word.
Love, Love, Love slowed the pace down, building layers of atmospheric noise on top of McGovern’s screaming of its chorus, while Green & Blue’s bassline - courtesy of Gabriel Paschal Blake - reverberated around Esquires as the band tore through one of their breakthrough hits.
For their finale of Feeling Fades, McGovern climbed over the barrier to sing among the crowd before the band left the stage, as it began, with the venue drenched in feedback with cymbals and drum stands lying scattered across the stage.
It’s a testament to everyone who works behind the scenes at Esquires that great gigs at the venue are almost ten-a-penny.
However, every so often you know you’ve seen something very special and The Murder Capital’s set was something everyone inside will be talking about for years.
Better than Kate Tempest who headlined in May? Debatable. Easily as good as when Idles played in 2017 who, coincidentally, left the stage in a similar chaotic mess.
The Murder Capital played:
More Is Less
Love, Love, Love
Slow Dance (Part 1)
Slow Dance (Part 2)
On Twisted Ground
Green & Blue
Don't Cling To Life