Monday, October 17, 2011
Lite / Maybeshewill / IO / Dying Giant @ The Flapper, Sunday 16th October
Is post hardcore (for the tidy purposes of this review let’s make the sweeping generalisation that all of tonight’s band were/are post hardcore) the new jazz? I only ask ‘cos there was plenty of head nodding and beard stroking going on this evening and, like jazz, the music itself has a similar level of complexity that you either get or...well...don’t. Stripped of vocals (pretty much all of tonight’s tracks were instrumental) this is music that you need to LISTEN TO rather than just passively absorb. Do that and it all makes a hell of a lot more sense.
First up Dying Giant. Playing just two tracks (granted, each one lasted around ten minutes) they’re masters in the art of ‘the build’, with gentle strumming rising to a crescendo of piledriving noise. HELL YEAH! An impressive performance from the whole band but special mention to the drummer who managed to move seamlessly from funk to military to rock beats, in the same track, but still made it all sound coherent. One of the most attentive crowds I’ve seen in a long time gave ‘em a suitably ‘giant’ whoop at the end of it all too.
Next up IO. Again, as seems to be the vibe in the post hardcore scene, their tracks burn, flicker, fade, then burst violently back into flames again, helped along by the occasional Beelzebub screams of their lead singer. With an array of FX pedals that looked a little like the control panel of the Starship Enterprise the band set up and explored an alternative universe which, in my deranged mind at least, is filled with giant machines that mince up the human race to use as fuel (maybe they could start with Wayne Rooney?). But then again that could just be me. Their current album, Materioptikon, collects some of this evening’s best track together and is heartily recommended, not least because it offers, in my amateur opinion (I’m no hardcore/post hardcore/ expert...can you tell?) someone new to the genre a pretty accessible intro into the whole scene.
Before the headliners, Lite, who came all the way from Japan, it was time for Maybeshewill...who came all the way from Leicester. Clearly local favourites the already packed room swelled a little more at this point. Moist. In addition to the three guitarists who twisted and thrashed about in some kind of demented union (this is a good thing by the way) Maybeshewill use odd snatches of dialogue (from old movies I’m guessing) which adds a little more richness to the traditional post hardcore pallette. It’s used sparingly but it lends the music more of a filmic quality. Keyboards add, at various times this evening a jazzy, almost synth pop vibe and, on more than one occasion I was reminded of odd bits of Mike Oldfield’s gazillion selling Tubular Bells. Hmmm...Mike Oldfield as the daddy of the post hardcore scene. Now there’s a wild theory. New song (hell, they were all new to me) To The Skies From The Hillside moved from noodly tranquil bits to full on doom rock riffs, changing pace more often than Kanye West changes his socks (368 times a day apparently).
Last up Japanese four piece, Lite. After a couple of endearing false starts (one of the guitarists had a bit of a tuning issue) and a brief thanks to the crowd for coming (bless), the band proved themselves to truly be masters of time and space. Nope, I’m not talking Dr Who here, it’s the precision with which they play and the way they allow the music to ‘breathe’, using moments of silence to punctuate tracks in a way that I’m guessing few bands would or could attempt. More math rock than post hardcore the sound’s a little more complex than anything else on offer tonight and the natural sense of timing and rhythm (downright funky in places) was frankly unbelievable. From the sparse piano playing to the immaculately executed riffs and drummer’s staccato machine gun ferocity it was a close to musical perfection that you’re likely to get in their genre. Pick of the night (I think it was called Image Game) showed the band at their best, the use of timing and space fused to a surprisingly accessible track. Elsewhere the band inspired a bit of a clap along (how often does that happen as these kind of shows eh?) and the bassist even threw in a bit of slap bass. Brilliant...Level 42 meets math rock. The band last played The Flapper in 2006, let’s hope we don’t have to wait another five years for a return visit.