Monday 4 March 2024

Live Review: NewDad - Trinity, Bristol - 3 March 2024

When a band walk out on stage to Aphex Twin's #3 it's a pretty safe bet to say the evening ahead would be filled with emotively-charged energy. And NewDad certainly weren't ones to disappoint. Playing to a sold out Bristol crowd, the Galway natives were in town in celebration of their recently released new album Madra. And with every day a learning day, I was soon to discover its namesake translated to Dog, with the band persuading the whole crowd to bark en masse with their best 'woof' impression. Just your average night at a NewDad concert.

As the cheers finally settled the band kicked off and seamlessly melted in to "Angel", their album opener which steadily set the mood with its grungy guitars and hazy atmospheres, all coupled with their ever despondent lyrics, "You can swim around, But I don't want you to drown inside me, It's nor fair to be your responsibility".

This remained a theme throughout as "Dream of Me" delivered its powered chords and harsh lyrics doused in longing and self regret, all before its pulsating guitar riffs and punchy basslines echoed through the room. On record the band offer up a shoegaze aesthetic but live it's a completely different beast as their scuzzy melodies are met with potent percussion and towering pop sensibilities that gripped the audience and threw them in to a head down, bodily swaying trance.

With the band's blend of shimmering guitars, dextrous vocals, and driving rhythms, lead singer Julie Dawson's haunting vocals effortlessly soared above the mix, drawing listeners into each heartfelt vocal cry. Her stage presence remained magnetic, as she meandered across the stage, inviting the crowd to join her on a journey through their emotionally-charged soundscapes.

Highlights of the set included fan favourites "Blue" and "I Don't Recognise You", not least to mention a blistering cover of The Cure's "Just Like Heaven," each delivered with an intensity and passion that left a lasting impression. The band's ability to effortlessly transition between introspective ballads and infectious indie rock anthems kept the audience on their toes as they continuously switched up the pace, evidently so as Fiachra Parslow and Dawson returned from the encore to perform "White Ribbons" stripped back to its bare bones, the crowd perfectly silent, as they nodded in unison. 

It was clear that NewDad had left an indelible mark on everyone in attendance. Their raw talent, energy, and genuine passion for their craft shone through in each touching moment of the night, showcased by their immense musicianship and charming charisma. With their star on the rise, this is a band destined for great things and I implore anyone to not pass up the opportunity to catch them on the trajectory, don't hesitate – you won't be left empty handed.


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