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[IC][Story][Arc 1][Info]Metal Spider Reviews
[IC][Story][Arc 1][Info]Metal Spider Reviews
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Metal Spider Reviews
33 Stars at Vicar Street

Last night I went to Vicar Street to review another band. But for the life of me, I can’t remember a thing about them. All I can think about is the ‘guest’ billing – the first group on stage opening the show to a cold crowd.

An all female ‘cyber-metal’ band calling themselves 33-Stars.

And I’m not sure what to make of them.

They introduce themselves as Lou, Sylvie, Nam, Anri, and frontwoman Meg, before crashing open with a cover version of ‘Blind Guardian’s Time What is Time and I remember thinking just how empty the sound was. Technically correct, and by no means bad, but not particularly exciting either. A sort of store-brand Supervalu metal.

Harmless. Acceptable.

Standing at the back of the venue I didn’t hear a single voice that disagreed.  A new band, playing their first venue that isn’t a pub or club, with no idea how to work a crowd that isn’t already drinking. Competent, and not a disaster. A reliable backup, but never headline material.

But in the pause between songs, everyone within six feet of the stage cheers like they’d just experienced something far more than generic metal product.

The back half of the crowd just stands there wondering what the hell is going on, while the middle has begun to jostle. Something strange just happened and I filter forward and see what I missed

Next song. Another cover. This time Iron Saviour’s ‘Cybernetic Queen’ and it hits me.  It’s in the eyes. And I can’t stop staring.
I’ve been to all-girl groups before and they wear the same look –, nothing especially revealing – nothing in any way wild or overt - just tight and short in the right places. Nothing overt. Nothing excessive. You could take your kids to their show and not have to shield their eyes.

But I can feel it – a weird sort of thrill, as if all four of them are singing just to me and me alone. Sultry, hot, arresting. Like a strange sort of spell. Mind control in the music and the sway of their bodies. Like being thirteen again and suddenly discovering that girls exist. You can’t think about anything else but them.

It’s a radiating magnetism that beckons the crowd along, pulling them tighter, daring them to rush the stage and touch. And it’s not just the men. They reach out, close enough to touch and even the women are enraptured.

The back of the room’s still quiet. The front is going ecstatic as if these girls are the greatest thing ever.

Third up, introduced as an original and their first time playing it.  “Grasping for the Light”

It starts with Control. Repression. The downbeat drums of slavery and whipcrack snares from Nam on the drums. You feel the despair in their voices and the hope of freedom. Sylvie’s base thrums with the drudgery of the daily grind before crashing into an Iron-Maiden like gallop for freedom as Lou and Meg’s and Anri’s guitars awaken in harmony. They know where to borrow from, at least.

Screaming, piercing panic gives way to a crash landing in a future city torn straight from Blade Runner.

The lyrics carry a sci-fi edge, of space-stations, escape to earth, monstrous robotic Doberman dogs and spearing plasma bolts. And then the oppression of living on the run in a city where everyone is hostile.

The parallels are clear – more something we’d expect from an American band. The sci-fi colour lets the story be told without controversy.  And that magnetism sucks you into the narrative, along with them, as one of them. All five are a presence in the mind, larger than life. Addictive. Leaving you wanting more.

They fire off three more out the same theme before finishing exactly as scheduled and we’re begging for more. Pleading for them to not leave us alone and cold.

The effect is terrifying.

The invitation to the merch’ desk was enthusiastically taken up.

Crowds smothered a single table in the bar carrying a few blank labelled CD’s recorded straight off the mix table, leaving the headliner’s table with all empty. All five of them fresh from stage and still sweating exuded an almost orgone energy, like a bedroom after sex, as they hastily write up labels on jewel cases for eager new fans. A hand touch-here, a subtle caress there – almost unnoticeable but sending shivers through people’s bodies, welcoming them to the fold. Shimmering skin glistened under the lights and one of them, Sylvie, with golden contacts in her eyes looked straight through me and I could’ve done anything for her in that moment.

I left her a tenner lighter with a handwritten – and signed - CD to listen to at home after the show. The crowd still thronged the girls as the next act fired up, while everyone left behind in the venue wondered what the fuss had been about.

I’ll have a review for the rest of the show in a few days, I promise.

At home, with the CD playing, it feels distant. Like a studio recording with the audience overdubbed as a second track. It’s technically correct, and almost mechanically precise like a machine or vocaloid playing even at high speeds with complex triple-harmonies - but also just that bit flat and sterile, only really gaining a small iota of investment as they turn to their own material, and I’m wondering why I ever felt the way I did. Even in videos taken – they don’t really move that much on stage, far less than I thought at the time.

Maybe you just have to be there. Maybe that’s what the ‘cyber’ really means – almost machine-like playing with a subtle strain of passion begging to be released underneath.

Keep an eye out for them over the next few months or years. Maybe they’ll become something big. If you do get a chance, try to get up close for the full effect, or you’ll be left wondering what the big deal is.
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--m(^0^)m-- Wot, no sig?
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