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Hot Water Music, Whelan's, Dublin, 15th May 2003.

Last year, Hot Water Music released a great album. It was called "Caution", I'm not sure why, but I think it could have been a veiled reference to their live show. Despite all the efforts of being seasoned performers, they showed none of the grace and style that was shown off so finely on record. Hot Water Music helped to pioneer the post-hardcore scene, but seem to have been left behind while newer bands like Finch and The Movielife collect the accolades.

I saw Finch at their show in the Music Centre a few months ago and it was a great gig. They were engaging, they had fabulous songs and they were alive. HWM on the other hand were a very poor photocopy of themselves. Instead of exploding what should have been an exciting and memorable Irish debut, they pulled an absolute dummy out of the bag, one that was barely able to make it off the runway before shaking itself to bits.

Songs were pretty much indistinguishable in the live mess, blame the sound if you want, but it was more a case of turn it up loud and forget about hearing any melodies or tunes. This more punk rock approach didn't work. In fact, it was more of a proper failure. After witnessing this, I'd have to say that from now on I'll be sticking to their albums. Proof that just because a band can release strong albums and can write good songs it doesn't make them indestructible. The truth comes out live.

Ken McGrath.

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