Live at Brudenell Social Club on Friday, 30th January 2009
Solus Locus know how to do a "final" gig. This evening they are not only musically vibrant and precise but their stage personas have suddenly surged forward into the rock-star stratosphere. If arco bowing on guitar wasn't theatrical enough, keys-man Mike Jones ends the set in true destructive style, climbing atop his keyboard (from which I imagine any touch responsive may never recover) while feedback and general chaos lays waste to the rest of the band. Besides this, though, the band betray an almost stickler approach to their live performance - complex polyrhythmic sections seem effortless in their hands and sudden feel and time signature changes are extremely adept. In fact, the sole attempt at group vocal harmonies in "Satellites" is the only aspect which seems under-rehearsed. The resulting drunk-in-pub harmonies contrast with their otherwise heady musicality which, in conjunction with their enthusiastic banter and pixie-like stage presence, ensures that their last set sends them out on a high.
Every catch-up with i concur shows colourful new musical growth. Even the mainstays of their sets have clearly been nurtured, pruned and Baby Bio-d devotedly, with Brunger's grooves becoming ever more sprightly and expressive melodic and rhythmic nuances in guitars and bass building in confidence: in addition to the left hand embellishments adding character to each part, notably some shimmering wide vibrato, all of the strings are benefiting from concise work from the right hands. Page's bass attack is harder hitting, picked interludes from Hann are cleaner and i concur even include their own theatricality, albeit calmer than Solus Locus', with a surreptitious almost Townshendian windmill swing from Woolford. New material provides the opening to their set and more than suggests that their songwriting skill is refining at the same pace and with the same musicality as the technical aspects.
God Is An Astronaut prove themselves to be similarly strong musicians, with drummer Hanney and bassist Kinsella particularly showcased throughout. Hanney is ruthlessly efficient and nimble in his drumming, while the bass is given unusual dominance with melodic material which Kinsella handles well. The set's punch is aided significantly, although perhaps a little disproportionately, by its audio-visual marriage. The constant onslaught of images, mixing abstract kaleidoscopic with more explicitly "moral" projections, seems an almost unnecessary distraction from the set, which should musically be more than enough to hold the audience's attention. The set's length, a true prog-ish hour and a half, doesn't ease this, either, and the whirl of lights, colour and images leaves those who stuck it out until the end looking and feeling a little overly dazed. Again, though, the band's enthusiasm and dynamism works positively and punters come out of the Brudenell tonight looking sapped but contented.
Alt-americana / Post rock.