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New Model Army, Temple Bar Music Centre, Dublin, Saturday 26th February

NMA strike a chord that is becoming more and more rare in modern music. Anywhere they play, they fill venues with the people you rarely see in such numbers in a city - hoards of punks, bikers, Goths and crusties emerge from the undergrowth for an hour or so to hear the product of Thatcher's Britain that voices the rage, the disappointment and the hope that is still felt, the energy that is coming alive again in Reclaim the Streets-style protests across the globe.

New Model Army are the real thing, stripped down honesty that doesn't hide behind hi-tech trickery or ornate stage-sets. Among tracks from "Strange Brotherhood" and "Eight", songs like 'Over the Wire', 'Headlight' and 'Wonderful Way to Go', songs not quite burned deeply onto the subconscious as yet, the anthems remain. The songs are still relevant, 'Get Me Out' roared, 'Vengeance' released the pent-up anger of the crowd, 'Notice Me' tapped into the show-off in us all, while 'Green and Grey' became the track they only play in Ireland, because, according to the band, it suits here better than anywhere else. And the politics are still there, no grand exclamations, just honest observations on the ridiculousness of the North conflict and their decision to play Austria, despite the Freedom Party's position in government, just so they could play 'Vengeance'.

The crowd came alive very quickly, the mosh-pit very soon reached boiling point as people cut loose to let out their frustrations among those who felt the same. Only two rather negative observations were to be made. The first was that the band didn't play '51st State' or 'Stupid Questions'. I know they can't play everything, but those two? The second is more symptomatic. Most of the crowd was exactly the same as was at their last gig. In fact, the same people probably would have been there if the band had played 5 years ago. Midriffs are expanding and hair is thinning, and while we refuse to grow up, how long will that last? Have NMA become nothing more than a nostalgia trip for longterm fans, completely irrelevant to "the kids"? If so, fuck it, we'll keep coming...

Donnacha DeLong

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