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DeXtra / supporting Aslan March 1st 2004, at The Village

It was the kick start to NCI?s SU Rag week on March 1st at The Village and by 10.30 the gathering crowds were already well and truly ?happy? when Dextra finally got on the stage. I say this with tongue in cheek as Declan (or Deco as he?s known) the lead singer of Dextra is renowned for spending more time off the stage than actually on it. No matter the venue he manages to find the best way to engage his listeners, entertaining with personal interaction and phenomenal energy.

The band opened with the usual opener ? ?Lend me your hand? ? and was immediately followed by a newly written song called ?Lady in black?, introduced as being about the ghost Declan sometimes sees in Ballymun but nobody else does. It seems he spends quite a bit of time with the unusual as ?Ross and john? another of their songs is about his imaginary friends. Before they hit the halfway mark of the opening number he had leapt off the stage and was entertaining the delighted crowd in his unique up-close-and-personal manner.

Dextra are not perfect visual specimens of the Adonis mould. Nor would they fit into the hip or suave category. There is no ?Timberlake? factor here. What they are is hugely refreshing, completely without pretension, bullshit or ego. They are possibly the most open and honest live band I have ever seen. Without actually being a punk band, they embody the core of punk. In other words, they are not remotely interested in doing what is and has been done, what is expected, or in following any prescribed formula, they do what they love and part of that is to bring sheer entertainment to their audience in their own inimitable style.

Their songs are thumping, with a blues-guitar over a rock heart and an eighties twist in the keyboard melodies. They have the ability to draw a crowd in and raise it up with powerful increases of tempo and rhythm, volume and energy. Great songs like ?Duck, dive and survive?, ?Ambition? and their closer on the night ?Ross and John? have the emotive and powerful energy to draw virgin listeners and even well oiled student audiences deep into them. I would highly recommend catching this band live.

Review written by: D.M. --

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