Motorway delays meant totally missing most of Teeth of the Sea‘s set… I’ve been loving their latest Kraut-infused offering Master for some time now and was eager to get that all-important live perspective, but only ended up catching the trumpet soaked finale. A Miles Davis-shadowing sundowner of a track on anti-phonic wings; parabolic, infectious…the briefest of taste that left me floundering in the disappointment that I didn’t catch the whole caboodle.Next up were Esben and the Witch, who started in a storm of tribal energies, siren soarings and rebounding double positives. A sound that periodically fell back into splints of eddying chord and uneasy reflection, and a lush, sultry vox that had me wanting to use the G-word, but gothic as a description seemed a soupçon too crypt-treading for the weird chills they mustered. Things sizzled on harmoniously, full of post rock cleverness and well-crafted glassy guitars scissoring between fur-lined gulleys of expectancy, where circling strings stalked the vocals and glorious (if short-lived) blow outs of diamond-hurled noise. Finally bowing out on “Smashed to pieces in the still of the night” (which I thought might have been a Death in June cover?) . A song of twilight curves and glinting riffology, to which secondary incentives were sucked into dust devils of momentum then pulled asunder in yolky frustrations, the latter of which I wished they’d explored more. Thought Forms were something else. A 40 minute fiery beast indulging in plenty of wanton destruction – using their songs as the perfect excuse to properly wig out. Gone are the flute and chantery of earlier this year for a straight into the thick of it approach. Their guitars sounding at times like a pack of snarling wolves, the songs fraying, unravelling, evolving beyond their confines, ending on the ecstasy of key-drone vampires, suckling on the air. Deej‘s guitar adding eerie curves that lashed across Charlie‘s contours and Guy‘s percussive teasing. Her vox floating on those mystical sentinels, under-stitched in climbing chords. Guy suddenly stealing the limelight in a rolling concourse of steady dropped beats and padded inflexions, Charlie’s voice falling into the gaps as fuzzy washes of welling static speaker travelled. Louder drops of panel-pined percussion followed, ramping the tension, briefly cast in a deceptive calm before everything land-slid into screeching bliss and thunder – something that returned with a vengeance between every oasis of calm. Bloody brilliant!!
Snuck down to the basement straight afterwards, and caught a smidgen of Dylan Carlson‘s set – a far gentler end of the spectrum to the main room action, swayed to a few of his slow electrical snakes before setting off back down the M4 for some well earned shuteye.