B>E>A>K / WARM DIGITS / YOUNG LIAR. The Cluny. 19-12-2011.

December 26, 2011

Penned as Young Liar’s Christmas party, this gig was definitely one that I had been looking forward to for quite some time. You can probably see that just from looking at the line up… Three of the North East’s finest instrumental outfits all in the same place on the same night. Perfect.

I always find instrumental music so much more inspirational and inventive than traditional rock music. Conventionally, vocals usually stand at the forefront of a song, the centrepiece so to say. They are the main focus of a song whilst the music merely accompanies them. However, when there are no vocals, the music must be able to support the whole song. I think that without focus on vocals, instrumental bands are able to give a more concise and textured feel to their songs. It feels more calculated and well thought out. There needs to be a bigger emphasis on musical texture if it’s going to become a good song. The depth that instrumental bands seem to possess in their song writing is something to admire. It feels almost cinematic. In the case of the bands playing on this particular night, there is an overall feel to the type of music they play, but each is completely different in their own sense.

First up, Young Liar. Now this is a band I have seen numerous times before and I must say, they never get old. Every time I see them they seem to have improved. Having just released their debut EP (cleverly entitled EP1), they are hard at work on putting out their second effort. They make one hell of a noise! Taking after the likes of post rock aficionados Mogwai,  they make well calculated and engaging post rock. Instead of opting for the long, drawn out pieces full of noisy dynamics, they go for the full on approach. Starting loud, heavy and with full delay drenched guitars, their sound can only be seen to be in the poppier more accessible side of the post rock spectrum. Some bands who go for the longer compositions may find it difficult to attract a broader audience; they may only appeal to a select few. However, Young Liar’s approach puts them straight into the livelier part of the music, making their appeal so much wider.  While playing, Young Liar has “Home Alone” projected on the backdrop. Did it take the focus away from the band? Definitely not. It added to the feel of it, gave a festive edge. I only wish that Young Liar had made the original soundtrack, it would have been a deserving accompaniment.

Next up on the bill, Warm Digits. A band I’ve heard a lot about but have never had the pleasure of seeing their full live set. I don’t know where to start in describing these guys though. It feels more like an art project than a ‘band’. That’s a compliment though. They have a fully immersive feel to their live show. Its not just music, its so much more. Lets start with their sound. They are definitely inspired by Krautrock bands such as Can and Neu!. Its heavily based on repetition and this acts as the root of their sound. The lengthy, repetitive nature of their sound gives it a hypnotic quality which can’t help but draw me in. The set is full of delicious electric beats, which are accompanied by simplistic yet intricate guitar work and admirable drum work. It’s noisy, its fun and it’s engaging. It’s something new to me. Not many bands seem to have the courage or talent to pull off this type of music, but Warm Digits do it perfectly. Adding to the music, Warm Digits have visuals on the side. Featuring projections, both pre recorded and live, it adds to the whole experience. Add to that a variety of different lights and you can start to picture it. It is something that has to be seen live to truly appreciate it. A palette of colour and light perfectly suit the infectious noise they make. Their debut album – ‘Keep Warm… with the Warm Digits’ – is definitely one you should be listening to if you haven’t already. Even better though, catch the live show. It has to be experienced first hand to truly understand its magnificence.

The final band on the bill, Sunderland based bird rockers B>E>A>K. Again, a band I’ve seen before and one that never get old. I’ve reviewed these guys a few times before and have never had a bad word to say. They consist of members from other well respected North Eastern bands and it shows. There is a plethora of talent on show. We have everything: percussion, guitars, keyboard, saxophones, and trumpets. The range of instruments on offer account for, and enrich, their uniquely diverse sound. It’s rooted in the post hardcore genre but manages to break away from it at the same time. They have the background sound of a typical post hardcore band; heavy riffs, infectious rhythm, deep bass, but they have additional levels of sounds which take them away from the standard. The addition of a small but effective brass section gives them a playful charm that also gives them a livelier atmosphere when performing. All throughout the show there are ‘birds’ running around The Cluny who jump on tables and play in the crowd. Such a lively show! With band members continually swapping instruments, they have there sound nailed. They’re getting the attention of everyone in the North East right now, particularly for their live show, and it’s obvious why. Whenever I see them there’s always that fine line between fun and serious music. They manage to blur the two together to make their talented musicianship a thoroughly enjoyable experience. I’m expecting big things from these in the future.

Such an incredible show from such a quality line up. It’s been a while since I’ve attend a show when I wasn’t sure who I was more excited to see play. All three play completely different types of instrumental rock and all seem like leaders of their specific sub genres. All great in their own respect, I urge you to check them out as soon as you’ve read this.

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