Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Crosscut Saw's ‘Shake Em On Down’

Stylistic embellishment is entirely unnecessary for the unmistakably literal piece that is Shake Em On Down; Crosscut Saw proving just how impressive a lack of salience can be.

Nominal production shows a decent amount of credibility, the arrangement being fairly rough-cut, yet beguiling in the same instant. The absence of an elusive verse is only counterbalanced by the raw vehemence of the guitar, and with elementary lyrics rasped aside the fierce euphony, any listener could candidly state just how infectious this track really is. In fact, the song's authenticity alone would be enough to compel a ruthless aggregation of foot stompers.

Though a likeliness to America's John Lee Hooker is made apparent, the prominent sprightliness intermingled with the vocalist's gravelly shouts thrust a singular quality into the open. Comparisons to one side, though, and you're left with a galvanising, bracing and fresh delta blues track.

You definitely won't be forgetting this one any time soon.

Written by Katie Bartle

Friday, November 02, 2012

Muse live at Manchester, MEN Arena, 1.11.12

Thursday night saw the Devon band, Muse, end the first UK leg of their tour and, by God, did they end it with a vigorous bang.

Pompous, pretentious and grandiloquent. Three words that could be considered somewhat repellent, to say the least. But not when it comes to Muse. In fact, the more overblown and outrageous, the better. We thought they'd reached the pinnacle of madness with the The Resistance tour. With a UFO, ridiculously large and moving pillars for each band member to be displayed resplendently, acrobats and a hell of a lot of lights; surely they'd hit some sort of limit? It would seem not, as the melodramatic trio return with their sixth studio album, The 2nd Law, in which they exhibit a genre exploring compendium and a flamboyant and superbly unrestrained tour.

The ‘ambient rebellious dubstep’ (according to Bellamy, anyway) track Unsustainable throbs into the arena, thumping through the ground and into the hearts and souls of intent listeners. Glorious pools of ruby lights beat in time with the applauding audience and howls of intro music. A female voice reads a newsreel-style report over the piece, the words ‘all natural and technological processes proceed in such a way’ effectively introducing the band and compelling dire screams from female fans and raucous cheers from the men. A heavily effected, robotic utter of the word ‘unsustainable’ is accompanied by the roars of fans, prompting kaoss pad manipulations and other emblematic Bellamy sounds. All of this nourished with drums and bass, and the evening is officially underway.

Three songs in and a colossal, inverted pyramid of screens descends from the roof. Impressive. In fact, the entire execution was just that. With rafts of lasers fulgent enough to dazzle the blind, slick guitar riffs and the seraphic harmony of Bellamy's silver voice satiating the venue, Muse manage to flummox their spectators once again.

Seemingly confident with their new material, a large portion of the band's setlist is taken from the new album, along with cherished tracks Falling Down, Plug In Baby and New Born, and the pleasantly unheralded b-side, Host.

The time comes for Chris, commonly recognised as the bassist of the ensemble, to prevail, strutting out to the protruding portion of the stage and elevating his arms dignifiedly. Surprisingly, the lyrics are bellowed right back at him, pent with so much emotion as to forget about, usually prominent, Bellamy and focus solely on the fresh, sure-footed vocalist that is Chris Wolstenholme.

Ending their set with not one, but two encores, the pyramid falls from the roof and engulfs the trio. Isolated System's music video gleams from the screens, obligating those who can to sit down and stare, hypnotised by the stunning visuals.

As per usual, Knights of Cydonia closes their second encore and, unfortunately, marks the end of their set.

I think, as the sweat soaked, but ever smiling, fans pour out of the arena; we can all confidently say that Thursday night only confirmed the band's title of ‘best live act in the world today’...

... Again.

  • Unsustainable
  • Supremacy
  • Map of the Problematique + Who Knows Who riff
  • Supermassive Black Hole
  • Panic Station
  • Resistance
  • Animals
  • Montpellier Jam + Explorers
  • Falling Down
  • Host intro + Time Is Running Out
  • Liquid State
  • Madness
  • Follow Me
  • Undisclosed Desires
  • Plug In Baby
  • New Born + Head Up outro

Encore 1:
  • Isolated System
  • Uprising (extended)
  • Survival

Encore 2:
  • Starlight
  • Man with a Harmonica + Knights of Cydonia

Written by Katie Bartle

Friday, October 19, 2012

Reverend & The Makers live at Leeds, Stylus, 18.10.12

It was 2007 that ascertained their success, as ‘Heavyweight Champion of the World’ became a UK top 10 single - in the same month where more popularly renowned artists, such as The White Stripes, captured the public's attention, this was an impressive feat. Now, Reverend & The Makers are standing gallant and grand as ever. Although their latest album, @Reverend_Makers, cultivated motley reviews, Thursday's enrapturing display would have you believing otherwise.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Red Hot Chili Peppers live at Sunderland, Stadium of Light, 24.6.12

Having been a decent stretch of years since the band started out, the Red Hot Chili Peppers have had their fair share of onstage experiences. It seems that, not too many years ago, the band were performing as young men, with only a sock hanging from their genitals, so it's hard to believe that three out of four of the band members are now middle aged fogeys. With their enthusiastic and unparalleled psyches, and well-kept figures, I often find myself refusing to believe that so much time has passed.