photo credit: Danielle Holian
It was well past the witching hour when Plutonic Dust took to the stage in Dublin’s The Sugar Club on a brisk April’s Saturday night. It was thronged, people packed the place up to the bar at the very back of the venue. A crap DJ played what seemed to be one, hour long song from when the doors opened at 11:30PM, to when the band finally took to the stage.
The band wander on and off stage, greeting friends, tuning up, sound checking. All the while, the DJ plays that same, relentless beat, setting the tone for the gig to come…
When Plutonic Dust took to the stage, it seemed like the night sprung to life. A pulsing, body moving beat bludgeoned The Sugar Club, the bass line thumped in your chest like some kind of second pulse and Veronica Morgan’s voice soared over the top of it all, with just enough delay added to make the whole thing seem totally futuristic. When the guitar came in, playing disco-licks that would make Nile Rodgers green with envy, it was picture perfect. The night was going to be savage.
Fast forward 3 numbers, the beat has not let up. Nor has it sped up, or slowed down. The same song could’ve been playing the entire time and I wouldn’t have known. Only for changes in the lyrics, it would be impossible to tell if the song was different. It would appear that the band were striving to be “hypnotic”, but all they got was monotonous.
Plutonic Dust set out to get people up and moving, this is body music, not music to nod your head to. And they did manage it, the crowd were loving every second of it. The (tiny) dance floor was wedged all night; hands and screams of approval were thrown liberally to the air. However, the gig was boring. Just, boring. It promised the sun and stars for the first two songs and failed to deliver. Veronica’s stage presence came across as a sort of contrived shamanism, full of “feeling”, and “emotion”. A great vocalist no doubt, but her repetitive lyrics and vocal theatrics only added to the monotony of the show.
Plutonic Dust have said that they want to make their live experience “a totally immersive spectacle”. I presume that refers to the projections on the screen behind them. A casual annoyance more so than anything else really; pointless film clips cobbled together with seemingly no attachment to the on-stage show.
The beat wore on; a dreadful cover of Talking Heads’ ‘Psycho Killer’, the band bobbed their heads, synthesisers came in with the occasional flourish, mostly they just droned. Nothing spectacular. Even the aforementioned “disco-licks”, only add a second-rate Daft Punk-vibe to that endless beat.
It was a lack of variety that ruined this show. As musicians, they’re all impeccable, they just pedalled that same beat for the whole concert. If they had thrown in a bit of spice here and there it would’ve been awesome. But they didn’t, and it wasn’t.