Live at Cockpit on Monday, 28th February 2005
Due to Vib Gyor pulling out, it was a good two hours before Benjamin Wetherill took to the stage to play his trademark set of Formby covers, banjo strumming and all those minor keys. I think Nigel Tufnel was right, D minor really is the saddest key of all, and Ben plays it a fair few times tonight, whilst constructing his beautifully intricate melodies.
His new material sounds very bluesy and rootsy, although with the Wetherill twist added to keep it a bit folksier, subtler and generally a lot prettier than anything else you're likely to hear in the Cockpit. Of course the Formby covers are in there, and the banjo comes out before too long, and I personally think it's great that in the room dedicated to harsh, thrashy metal on a Saturday night is now transformed into a 1950s era jazz palace. Wonderful as always, Ben.
There's no Vib Gyor tonight, so it's a surprise as Pure Reason Revolution take the stage just after Benjamin finishes. As they start, it's obvious that this band has a fixation for all things a bit proggy. They start as they mean to go on with a gorgeously hazy 1970s Floyd type thing, all mellow bass, subtle pianos and slide guitar. It's a brilliant way to start your set, and as the groovy instrumental ends, it bleeds into the next song, a trick they repeat pretty much all night. It's kinda cool though, as the set becomes one massive song, a huge, hour-long tribute to delay pedals and weird synthy keyboard things. Their tunes are really rather good, but perhaps their name is not. I have to be honest, I thought these guys would be a boring indie band tonight, but with a name like Pure Reason Revolution, what do you expect?!
The Floyd fixation continues throughout the night, and as the set progresses, they switch from golden Beach Boys harmonies, to harsh thrashed guitar blasts, to weird computer noises, synth swooshes and all sorts of random noise added in-between. Of course for any band that attempts to meld computer aided noises to a more traditional rockier band sound, then The Cooper Temple Cause-isms will be flying around in everything they ever do. I suppose they share some of the same grandiose ideas, but are well enough detached from the Clause to hold their own. Sometimes the harmonies don't really match the kind of epic soundscapes they're aiming for, but for the most part, these guys were really entertaining and very good indeed.