16th April 2011
The double gig header for this week was concluded with another trip to Camden, only this time it’s straight to the Electric Ballroom early doors in order to catch the bands (damn Friday night scheduling). Upon arrival we were bombarded with epic noise rock coming from Asobi Seksu, who seemed to be doing quite well in drawing in the already ample crowd.
Catching the end of the set, they played with plenty of shoegazy fuzz factory loaded guitars and scratchtastic fretting. But it all fell apart when the female vocalist opened her mouth to deliver weak and whiney vocals. Good thing there weren’t that many vocals then hey!
After a long time away Rival Schools had returned to the UK with their first new material in 7 years since their lauded debut United By Fate. They have clearly spent time honing their songwriting as these new tunes were mature, melodic and catchy. The performance was one of professionalism. All in all a fairly standard run through of their material. Good, but left a little hole where the excitement should be. Front man Walter Schreifels warm vocals and his intimacy with the crowd, initiating plenty of banter showed a confidence which even went so far as breaking out a cover by request. To the cries of “FREEEEEBIRD!” came a rendition of the first verse/chorus of Bon Jovi’s Wanted Dead Or Alive…they definitely have a sense of humour. Set highlights included the delayed drenched riffs of 69 Guns, the heaving opener Wring It Out and sing-a-long indie classic Used For Glue. On the whole, a rather enjoyable set.
…And Now You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, to quote their full moniker do not do half measures. Neither do they like the phrase ordinary. Whether is the band name’s, their energy or the ethereal sonic experimentations they manufacture they are far from your average Joe’s. Kicking off their set they launched into a seemingly endless stream of melody and progressive rock greatness backed with more rise and falls than the south downs. After later checking up (setlist.fm) it seems this was the 16min album closer Strange News From Another Planet from latest LP Tao of the Dead, just how any middle of the road band would start their set, right?
…And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead
Follow this with a seamless melody of cracking indie rock tunes from the same album including The Fairlight Pendant, Ebb Away and Summer Of All Dead Souls, you have the first half over within the blink of an eye! ToD have a great tendency to produce beautiful slow drifting instrumentations which lull your senses, taking you into a dreamlike state of mind. Yet they manage to never over do it (70’s prog a no-no), bringing back the main riff at just the right point to kick you up the ass with full blown amped up clout.
ToD were hitting the right notes with the crowd by playing moving on to some older material which sparked both moshs and sways in equal proportions. In rather ToD like fashion, their lead singer and drummer swapped for some of tracks which tended to be heavier and punkier.
Switching it up
These Texans take no prisoners no matter who is on vocal duty and it’s their genre bending, outright refusal to conform, while creating unique and exciting prog which sets them apart and above all who try to rival them. A great performance from true rock heavyweights.