Concert Review: A Winged Victory For The Sullen – Pavilion Theatre, Dun Laoghaire – Review by Killian Laher.
Expectations were high for the visit of A Winged Victory For The Sullen to the genteel Pavilion Theatre in Dun Laoghaire. A special group deserved a special support act, and we got just that in the shape of a rare performance by Chequerboard. Chequerboard is the brainchild of supremely talented guitarist John Lambert, who treated us to selections from his most recent album The Unfolding. Ably backed up by a slide guitarist and Mary Barnecutt on cello, Lambert gradually added layers of dreamily plucked guitar to pieces such as Dunes and Opening the Gates. The musicians played with subtlety and deft technique on such intricate music, culminating in Today Is Beautiful, We Have Things To Do, which at times threatened to collapse under its own complexity, yet emerged as something of a triumph. The trio are a quiet delight, well worth arriving on time for.
Dustin O’Halloran and Adam Wiltzie are the two men behind the composition of A Winged Victory for the Sullen’s music, and here they appeared on either side of the stage, O’Halloran leading on ominous keyboards as Wiltzie added guitar, drones and static. Between them were a Belgian string triad, taking centre stage for a large helping of the Atomos score. This meant a huge expanse of sound, each instrument interwoven to create glacial swells of lush sound, right from Atomos I onwards. That’s not to say the audience was lulled into tranquility, far from it. O’Halloran’s pounding of the keyboards on VI threatened at one point to overwhelm the entire sound system, yet somehow the sound engineer rose to the task of delivering the incredible sound created on the stage.
At times the tension reached almost unbearable levels but a piece from their self-titled debut provided a brief diversion from the Atomos score, before the band returned with final selections from one of the albums of last year. It would be easy to lose oneself in superlatives after witnessing a set such as this. Suffice to say that high expectations were well and truly met. Should the opportunity present itself to see this band, prepare yourself to be seriously impressed.