On Sunday I went to see No Age twice, because I’m a lady of leisure with nothing better to do than fuck up my hearing by over-exposure to loud noise.
One gig was in the Academy 2 at night time, the rescheduled version of the gig that would have been on in Crawdaddy on the Saturday night. Run of the mill. The other gig was in the Exchange. It was the second ever show there after Adebisi Shank with Find A Way the Friday before, and the first touring band. A touring band in the afternoon in Dublin’s sparkling new collective space. Exciting!
At the first couple of Exchange Audio meetings (i.e. the ones that I was at), and amongst my friends, there was always the whisper that if this thing got up and running properly, maybe No Age would play. It was specifically No Age. Because they’re from The Smell, they’re made of all-ages collective art spaces. It was the carrot on the end of the fishing rod, that Dublin could be a place that has a Smell, except a Smell that doesn’t smell and isn’t in a bad neighbourhood.
Well, they came. Despite being forced to pay exorbitant sums for flights after being stopped because of an excess of hand luggage (two bags instead of one) in a Norwegian airport, they seemed pretty happy to be in a place like the Exchange. I got the impression that it was one of the better things of its type they’d been in, which is the kind of thing that fills me with civic pride.
So, No Age are used to this sort of thing. But are we? Not really, yet. The Kids, who Exchange Audio is essentially for, weren’t out in force, really. It was mostly the same faces, but holding coffee instead of pints and in a definite Sunday afternoon mode, rather than an ebullient, youthful mosh-mode, despite the mild encouragement of Dean No Age.
The set was mostly from Nouns, and very loud. The police came. “Hello cops” – No Age, again, probably not the first time they’ve been told to turn it down in a “space”. Eraser, Miner – the closing two if I remember? – were both great. Teen Creeps, which was the opener and is one of the best songs of the decade (gonna phase in “of the decade” pronouncements for the rest of the decade), was underwhelming by virtue of lazily off-key vocals and something other missing magic.
It was good. How was the later gig in the Academy 2? Same, basically. No, it was actually just the same set, so there’s no “basically” required. They did an encore though, which some more of the same level of good.
Can you tell I’m not overwhelmed with joy and enthusiasm? I’m not sure why. I was really impressed when they played the Drowned In Sound thing last year, and I expected to be really impressed again, but I wasn’t. They were worth seeing. They were worth paying for once and seeing twice, even. But, whether it be because Venus is waxing and the stars are aligning against a certain type of music in the dark, spider-webbed corridors of my taste, or because they just weren’t as on it on the day, it just wasn’t as inspiring.