Coming right off of their 2014 reunion tour and the release of their eagerly anticipated sophomore record, Midwest Emo legends American Football play their first ever Irish show and they did not disappoint at all.
The band opened up with Where Are We Now from their second album (it’s self-titled but is referred to as “LP2” by fans) the first thing that struck me was how tight and well rehearsed they sounded – in fact; hearing the song live was vastly superior to listening to the recorded version. These thoughts were solidified when the band followed up with You Know I Should Be Leaving Soon from their debut album. I was completely taken aback because it sounded identical to the recorded version. It isn’t a case in which the band are miming their parts, it clearly shows that Mike Kinsella and co. have rehearsed these tracks to death and are clearly unable to skip a beat or miss a note as a result of this.
The songs from their heydey evoked a sound that sounded much more complete than the recorded versions – the searing Math Rock rhythms from lead guitarist Steve Holmes were pitch perfect in conjunction with Mike Kinsella’s clearly matured vocal performance and Nate Kinsella’s engaging bass lines. The fuller sound breathed new life into songs such as I’ll See You When We’re Both Not So Emotional and Honestly? in ways I could have never imagined.
In some instances, breaks between songs were backed up by drummer, Steve Lamos, playing a few interludes on a trumpet while the band tuned their instruments with the crowd standing in silence. Songs such as My Instincts Are The Enemy, Desire Gets In The Way, and Give Me The Gun sounded much, much better in a live setting and have changed my perception on the record a bit.
The band finished their set with the stunning, post-rock-y Honestly? before Mike thanked the crowd for being there and went straight into Never Meant, both of which sounded absolutely stunning live. Even though the venue was relatively big and there was quite a number of people there, the band were able to make the experience feel very intimate and played as if they were in some random basement back in 1999.
American Football are much better in a live setting than they are on record. It’s easy to see why they’re massively successful in underground circles and considered to be one of the best Emo bands of all time – that opinion becomes much clearer after watching them perform. If you have the chance to see them play then get straight to it otherwise you might regret it for the rest of your days. They’re one of the most influential bands of our time whether you’d like to agree or not and seeing them live has only made me appreciate their output so much more.
American Football played;
Where Are We Now?
You Know I Should Be Leaving Soon
My Instincts Are The Enemy
The Summer Ends
Give Me The Gun
Born To Lose
Home Is Where The Haunt Is
I’ll See You When We’re Both Not So Emotional
Desire Gets In The Way
The One With The Wurlitzer
I’ve Been Lost For So Long