Apologies to MC Aoife Mc for shamelessly pilfering this image, but it’s the best one on the first page of Google Image search and my camera was stolen in Munich so that’s where I have to go for pictures.
It came from the West, with a “strange American accent that I really didn’t see coming”. So Cow has been to Dublin before, at Dame Lane for Loreana, in Anseo for Hefty Horse and at somewhere else for some Korean thing during Electric Picnic. But So Cow has never been this deadly, at least while I was there.
Seriously, when did this happen? So Cow has made two excellent albums in These Truly Are End Times and I’m Siding With My Captors, and played fairly good live shows. But the live shows have always been approximations of the recorded material to some extent, because they’ve been to backing tracks or with under-rehearsed bands. This time, with a drummer capable of bombing a Middle-Eastern city with only his sticks and two tins of biscuits, and a bassist with a beard, So Cow turned into some kind of breakneck proto-punk garage trio. It doesn’t sound like an effort to be like what’s in Brian’s head or on his CDs any more. It sounds outside that, better.
It was breakneck. It was slightly out of tune at points. Songs like Moon Geun Young and Casablanca from the first album got garaged up and spat out so they’d sit with the stuff from the second album. And the second album stuff, like Greetings and Normalcy, got a serious shot in the arm, infused with all kinds of aggression and energy. Most solos were substituted with simple rocking out. Some chunks were added, like the metal intro, or various outro messes. The whole thing, being “SO COW 2008! PLAYING THE HITS!” went by way too quickly and left me feeling like I’d been hit by a fish or something equally unexpected.
The best part for me, though, was To Do List. Like an oasis in a storm of ultra-tight garage mess, original So Cow and new So Cow drummer harmonised over a strummed ditty for a minute of so. Until… breaking into full band awesomeness and carrying the thing to a complete new level. One of those “Woah!” moments. Gig of the weekend this time, without a doubt.