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DEXTRA FUSEBOX Battle of the Bands Final, The Axis Centre, Ballymun. 04/05/2002

Apparently warned not to jump off the stage during their set, Dextra's lead singer 'Decco' (Declan Grange), had already done it before their first song, Runaway, was through. Dextra are a high velocity, high energy, high fun-factor act who seem to enjoy nothing more than audience participation.

During the set, 'Decco' seemed to personally engage every member of the audience in some way. From either joining their table mid-song or sitting onstage picking out individuals to sing to. There wasn't a short song in their set either, with the likes of 'Ross and John (Imaginary friends)' and '6 o'clock in the morning' hovering around (and above) the five-minute mark. With a mix of good lyrics, various changes of style and pace you never get the feeling that they're too long though. More likely you will not even notice that some bands would have played two and already be tuned up for their third by the time Dextra wind something like Gangster down. You will hear anything from a hint of The Cure on the keyboards, U2 style guitar, and an overall flavour of The Specials and Madness (reflected in the image lead singer Decco portrays as Suggs) in songs like Duck, Dive and Survive. Hard to imagine, but easy to enjoy. They gave it their all in the performance, and are wired enough that I can't imagine them ever giving it any less. I can't wait to see them again (live). I have a copy of Ross and John as well as New To The World on CD, that were downloaded from IrishUnsigned and I can't wait till Dextra use the prize they won as Runners Up of the Battle Of The Bands Final (a day in the Fusebox state-of-the-art studios) to record some more materila and put out a single. Perhaps the most noticeable thing about Dextra's performance was the audience interaction. About as opposite as you can get from Mainline, who won the event, but much more enjoyable as a live gig goes - that's what people pay their money for.

Review written by: Ron Healy and Deirdre Murphy --

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