The venue is sparsely populated when all of a sudden atmospheric music is heard and a ‘light show’ ensues. By the time the band comes on, the floor is covered in bodies and people are craning their necks to see the band. An army green Kerbdog backdrop hangs from the back of the stage, drums are slightly raised and a few amps litter the surrounding area. Kerbdog walk onstage drinks in hand, pick up their instruments and launch into “Pledge”. Guitarist / vocalist, Cormac screams “Come on you fuckers” and that’s all the audience need to surge forward, head bang and let loose. As Cormac sings the opening lines the crowd scream them. They need no help from any of the band to be heard reciting this hit.
Three songs in and “Mexican Wave” incites vitality among the core fans that start a small pit in the middle of the venue. As Colin starts to jump and show signs of more enjoyment all the while lashing out those all too familiar bass lines, the crowd is singing every word, Battle does not need to sing, and why should he, this is Kerbdog!!!
Cormac’s introduction to ‘Rewind” reminds us that while this band have been gone for a while they have other regular jobs. Cormac, as a radio dj, knows how to keep the crowd going. He coaxes the people standing around the floor to move to this song as it has a bpm of 120. He realises that he can curse into the microphone now, as opposed to when he is live on air, and delivers a string of curse words asking the crowd did they want to add any other ones to his list. This causes laughter and cheering from the crowd, perfect to open the song. The crowd breaks into energetic movement immediately, the pit getting even bigger for the chorus. The crowd of seasoned rockers break away for the first two lines of the second verse, test the waters for the next two lines and then erupts into full moshing mode for the chorus. It is beautiful to see.
The rest of the band pause for breathe here while Colin plays a bass solo that sounds so good the audience stare memorised. They know what is next as drums follow along with the crowd clapping and guitars pushing on as “Earthworks” breaks in, a mosh pit breaks out and causes the venue security to stand to attention.
Kerbdog utilize their 100% Irish warm social skills to connect with the crowd by use dry houmous, tongue in cheek stage banter. After “Dry Riser“, bassist Fennelly looks into the crowd and asks after the score of the Ireland vs Scotland match. The crowd are paying attention. Immediately people start to shout scores to the stage. Darragh (Butler, Drums) comments with a large smile on how the match would be more ‘enjoyable’ than the show.
Kerbdog’s last album ‘On the Turn’ was released in 1997, and it would seem that the lads had forgotten the track listing of the album as Cormac jokingly consults Fennelly about the exact position of the self-titled track on the album before encouraging the crowd to “hassle the security so they earn their wage”. The banter with the crowd displays Kerbdog’s ability to create a warm, friendly environment all the while sounding super tight and as relevant as they did back in the 1990’s.
At this stage of the night the pit has grown bigger, seeing people on the outskirts abandoning reason to join it; jumping, pushing, head banging and generally moving erratically. Only those at the barrier in the middle do not partake in the pit.
Battle’s mischievousness breaks through during “Secure” with him play acting to the second verse. When the vocal cease lights start to go mad and the crowd react in kind. Those with epilepsy would not last long. Large amounts of dry ice is added to the mix by the next song ‘Severed‘ and as the pit gets even bigger.
Their hit “Sally” is exactly what the doctor ordered to keep the crowd going and we see guys running from the side-lines to join the pit for this song. Every punter in attendance is moving now and singing their hearts out with passion, which brings us perfectly to the end of the shot. The band says their goodbyes but before they even leave the stage the crowd are chanting “one more tune”. No one wants this night to end. It was going too quickly to start with!
Kerbdog leaves the stage just long enough for the crowd to catch their breath and they are back again with Battle leaving his guitar behind and taking to the microphone while pacing the stage. During “Dummy Crusher” he plays with security by singing into one of their ears. Security has had an easy night of it, they can’t complain about Cormac’s light-hearted spirit. He introduces and executes the band’s new song “Electricity”, first heard on their new live album Congregation. They finish the night with “JJ Song” staying on stage to mess with the crowd for only a few moments before disappearing.
Kerbdog are an amazing band live! It seems that the general consensus from those at the gig was that the show did not last long enough; it came as a surprise when the band announced their last song. This band interacts so brilliantly with the audience and play so fluidly that you do not realise the time passing. I welcome the guys back with open arms and am eagerly awaiting a new album, if they would be ever so bold as to indulge their fans once again.
Live Rating 5/5
“Congregation” is out now and can be purchased on this link.
Words – Karyn Corrigan
Photography – Steve Dempsey : Down The Barrel Photography
End of Green
On the Turn