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Category Archives: Music

I don’t really have the time or energy to talk about anything in detail so here’s a couple of brief reviews to keep things going.

The Dillinger Escape Plan – Option Paralysis

Current top picture on Dillinger's Last.fm

Dillinger’s new album is yet another extension of their recent foray into the realms of melody and I must say they’re getting better at it. Since ‘Miss Machine’ they’ve been experimenting with various different musical elements from dark progressive moments to elements seeming to take influence from some of the more standard ‘metalcore’ themes of modern metal. However they still manage to keep their sound distinct from anything else out there.

Tracks such as Widower are a perfect example of this. Being heavily piano based and much slower than many of the other songs on the album, Dillinger turn it into a pivotal point of the album, stepping away from the faster, more manic songs of the first half, and introducing harmonized vocals, massive synthesized sections, and a more emotional feel to the music. The song is then lead into a heavy breakdown reminding us what the band are about before crashing down into an epic finish.

Though as an album Option Paralysis is not as strong as Calculating Infinity or Miss Machine, it feels like a much more well thought out and coherent musical experience. Dillinger’s new drummer hasn’t let them down at all either.

Garden State (2004)

One of my favourite films of all time I first saw Garden State in the cinema when it first came out purely because my friend and I had heard it was written by, directed by, and starring Zach Braff. I enjoyed it but ultimately forgot about it until I came across it in my second year of uni and sat down to watch it on my own with a couple of beers to take my mind of exams. It was then that it suddenly clicked for me and became amazing.

Garden State isn’t your standard ‘feel good’ film, the story focusses around Andrew Largeman as he comes home for the first time in 10 years to go to his mothers funeral. However in doing so he leaves the many drugs he has been prescribed for his ‘mental condition’ since he was 10 at home and decides, with a doctors permission, to explore the possibility of living a normal life. In the process he meets Sam, a pretty weird girl with an even weirder family, and the story kicks off from there.

One of the pivotal scenes

The best thing about the film, or so I have found, is how the multiple story lines and character backgrounds merge together to allow the story and character progression to continue seamlessly, ultimately coming together at the end to be generally awesome.

Split Second

Split Second is awesome. That’s pretty much all you can really say about it.

A racing game which allows you to trigger events which destroy the environment and alter the track in order  to wreck your opponents. Yeah. Explosions. Woop.

WOO! 'SPLOSIONS!

The best thing about this game by far is not just that it’s on the PC but that you can play split screen using the keyboard. This has lead to a number of hours of sitting uncomfortably, far too close to the screen, looking like absolute nerds, but having a LOT of fun with it.

Not much more you can really say about it.

Not the most in depth set of reviews here but I’m currently running on pure exam tension right now. In 9 days I will have finished my degree.

Hopefully I’ll have more time to continue this blog after I finish.

It’s hard to define this album in relation to 65days’ previous work. Is it a triumphant return the their more electronic glitch-rock days or is it an evolution away from their more melodic post rock releases? When you compare it to the Dance Parties remixes however it feels a lot more like 65days have taken a look at what they’ve done so far and decided to move into less explored musical territory.

Cover art

We Were Exploding Anyway takes a much more electronic look at the post rock soundscape, with sharper and more hard hitting sounds and tones brought in through the increased use of synths, becoming at times more prominant than the guitar work. However this is by far not a step into what people would consider the realms of more popular electronica, the post rock themes cropping up throughout keeping it thoroughly grounded.

What I found most striking about the album is the feel of relentlessness to the music. It is rare that the music takes a moment to let you rest and prepare for the next song, with any slow build ups being followed by crushing bass lines and drums (Dance Dance Dance being a prime example of this). You can almost see the rave happening during these songs. This unrelenting feel is the main driving force of the album, flinging you from one song to the next while still maintaining the distinction between them. The only downside to this instant fix of fast, heavy synths is it does rely more on the breaking down of the melody and song structure in order to provide variation to each song, as many of the main riffs are introduced right at the start. This fits in nicely with the view of this being a progression away from post rock, which focuses mainly on the slow introduction of riffs and melodies to build the song up. However it does mean that some of the longer songs, such as Tiger Girl, feel forced and repetitive. I also found the use of synth to be quite unvarying throughout the album as well, with many of the same sounds seeming to be reused, though 65days overcome this with a few interesting additions to their repertoire, such as the use of vocals.

65 live

One criticism of this album is one that I’ve had with most of 65days’ more synth based songs is the reliance on treble. In many of the songs I found the bass to be lacking, and even during the ‘crushing bass lines’ I mentioned you find that what makes them appear crushing is the treble distortion which punctuates it. The same can be said for the guitar and synth melodies, which often descend into noisy chaos. Though this noisy chaos has been a staple of many 65days song crescendos I have begun to find it a little tiresome, especially when listening to it in my own room.

As an album, We Were Exploding Anyway stands out from 65days’ earlier work and is both better and worse for it. Each song is an exhilarating experience but by the end of the album it has left me wondering whether or not I’ve enjoyed listening to the whole thing. That being said I have listened to it almost 4 times through today already as background music to my revision so I guess I must be enjoying it. Whether this is a progression forward or a return to their roots, 65days have once again made a very good album.

Here’s a video from an earlier tune.

That’s right! The showdown! The classic (well, classic enough) “play your music” game Audiosurf, vs the brand new Beat Hazard. Which is better? You’re about to find out!

I’ll start off talking about Audiosurf. Released a couple of years ago this was the first game (that I was aware of) to rave reviews, with a Metacritic score of 88. Coinciding with the rise of ‘casual’ gaming, yet including increased difficulty levels and modes that only those with the fastest reactions can beat, Audiosurf was immensely popular, and with good reason. The gameplay is fast, frantic, and flashy (YES! I finally used alliteration in a review!) and will have you sitting hunched over your keyboard for hours trying to get the gold medal and a high score, it certainly did me. The general idea is race down a track generated based on the pacing, volume, and intensity of your music collecting bricks which correspond loosely to the tune. “Hotter” colour bricks reward the most points with “cooler” colours being more common but less rewarding. In order to score you have to collect a column or row of 3 bricks of an identical colour, the more adjacent bricks, the higher the score. A pretty simple concept yet one that is strangely addictive. The addition of a 2 player co-op mode made this accessible to my friends as well, as it meant they could join in and we could have competitions.

An interesting feature is the different game modes available. You can choose to play as one of several classes, ranging from one which turns all bricks into grey or coloured, only rewarding you for collecting coloured bricks and having to grey ones fill up and get in the way of your columns. Or eraser, allowing you to remove specific colours from your columns in order to allow you to create connections. These vary in difficulty and usefulness, but it is fun to explore the different gameplay methods involved in these.

However the real gem in the mix is the online score tables. If you create an account, Audiosurf logs your score in a worldwide rankings table. Not only that but it uses the mp3 ID tag to include the name of the band and song, in order to create rankings for each and every song that anyone plays. Soon you find yourself not playing to beat your own top score, but to beat that of ‘mrcool666’ and take the number 1 place on your favourite song. When you do reach #1 Audiosurf then alerts you if anyone takes your crown, allowing you to get back in there and try again. Sadly all my #1 spots were taken months ago but it’s satisfying while you have them.

The graphics when it came out were pretty impressive too, with all sorts of trippy colours, flashing lights, and crazy patterns flying around, though you’re often too busy staring intently at the track to notice.

All in all this has been a fun game to play, with the added satisfaction of worldwide leader tables giving you that extra reason that keeps you playing slightly longer than you would.

Beat Hazard is a new game by developer Cold Beam Games and takes a new angle on the music influenced game genre. Instead of speeding up and increasing the difficulty as the music gets more intense, Beat Hazard increases your power along with the number of enemies, thus intensifying the action in time to the music. The idea of the game is similar to the classic arcade game (who’s name I can’t remember) where you fly around in 2D space destroying and avoiding anything that flies into your field of view. Getting used to this game is easy, and getting good at it doesn’t take much more than an hour of playing, I myself moved from normal difficulty to hardcore having completed 4 or 5 songs. One problem that I have come across with the gameplay however, is you have to choose your songs carefully. Whereas in Audiosurf, a slow section of a song corresponds to a slow uphill moment and brief respite, a slow section of a song in Beat Hazard reduces your weapon to a pea shooter and makes it almost impossible to take on some of the larger baddies, especially the bosses.

The boss weapons include 2 types of homing missile which, though easy enough to deal with during intense moments of music, are impossible to shoot down during quiet sections, and you find yourself attempting to run away from them while the boss continues to fire more. The other two boss weapons include indestructible bombs which follow a simple path, and a beam type thing which, if you misjudge your movements, will kill you instantly. I feel the latter of the two is slightly overpowered, as you have very little warning to get out of the way, especially when you’re in the midst of explosions and can’t see the pre-firing markings. However this does make the game more challenging, usually in a good way. The survival game mode offers an even more challenging experience, rather than building up the numbers of enemies throughout the song it pits you against a full armada straight away and has you survive for as long as possible, continuing onto the next song on the list when each one is finished. This can be infuriating to start with, but once you start hitting the 10 minute mark you realise ‘hey, i’m listening to my favourite album AND blowing stuff up in bright colours! What more could I want?’.

And this is one the main gameplay aspects of Beat Hazard which gives it a one up on Audiosurf, you can actually lose. Audiosurf has no failure mechanism, sure on the very hardest difficulty, if you fill up a column it tells you you may as well quit as you won’t get a high score, but you technically cannot fail. Whereas Beat Hazard gives you 2-3 lives and throws you in at the deep end, challenging you to survive through the song, and though it gives you a score whether you finish or not, it marks the song as incomplete and a percentage to tell you how far you got, just to remind you to keep playing. On top of this, your play feels like you are in control, even during the more intense moments, and you are able to keep up with the action. Whereas in Audiosurf you are in a constant state of ‘aaaahhh holy crap wtf!’. That made a difference.

The graphics are pretty spectacular. Though they are rather simple in design, with ‘hey lets make things flash and explode and be bright colours’ seeming to be the main theme. During intense moments you find yourself spinning around in a manic craze while the whole screen lights up in all sorts of flashing lights and colours.

Beat Hazard also has a ranking system, though it is based generally on mode rather than individual songs. And this can be slightly off-putting. I had a look at the longest survival time yesterday, and it is over 2 hours, compared to my measly 13 minutes. The same can be said for high scores. And there is no way of playing multiplayer either, meaning Audiosurf’s (limited) capacity for multiplayer gives it a one up on Beat Hazard once again.

So which is better? It’s hard to say. Looking at it now, I would have to say Beat Hazard, purely for the control you feel over where each game is going. Along with it’s improved graphics it is an extremely fun game to play, which is something that I can’t necessarily say about Audiosurf any more. Sure I played it  a huge amount when I got it, but that was a case of high score syndrome, playing simply to beat the score of one of my mates or some random person who had also played my favourite song. Beat Hazard has an advantage in that it has 2 years on Audiosurf, not only in terms of graphical improvements and all that crap, but in that I’ve only just started playing it and am yet to become bored by it.

Either way, Beat Hazard is currently £5 on steam so I would recommend you go and buy that and Audiosurf and see for yourself which is better.

I’ll add pictures to this post when I have time, I’ve been writing in breaks between revision sessions and dissertation missions. The dissertation is finished now though! Huzzah!

Corporation is a club and live music venue in Sheffield that I’ve been going to since I was able. I went last night for the first time in a while and had an epic and metal time so figured I’d write about the club here. I’m covered in bruises from the mosh pit in the main room last night so am in a lot of pain on top of the hangover, so if this review is a bit rambling and doesn’t make sense I apologise.

I’ll talk about the club night to start with.

woo, corp.

The main room downstairs

Corp club nights are best known for what is known as the corp goo, the strange sticky yet slippery substance that by the end of the night covers the floors and walls. However, as long as you don’t fall over this isn’t a problem. When you walk into the club you are greeted by a black, dark bar with music blaring in from all sides and a crush of people moving between rooms. As a first timer this can be a little intimidating, I remember arriving on my 18th birthday and thinking ‘what the fuck am I doing here’, but you quickly realise that this oppressive atmosphere is just on the surface, and underneath it all is a club full of strange and awesome people. You get all sorts here, from indie kids, to chavs, to crazy metal heads clad in leather, and Corp caters for all of them. On Fridays, Saturdays, and Mondays you have the standard Corp club nights, with strikingly different genres of music in each room, hardcore metal in the small room, hard rock and pop metal in the main room interspersed with dubstep and dnb, and RnB or cheesy pop in the upstairs room. So if you get bored of one thing, you can go to a different room. And these rooms switch around or change their music for each day, so it’s rarely the same on each club night. On top of that, on a wednesday the bottom two rooms open up for ‘school disco’ where Corp tries its hand at being a normal club, providing discounts for people in school uniform and playing dance, rnb, and indie. One recent addition to the main club nights is the final hour or so of dubstep. I first came across this in the metal room on a new years club night, when at about 2, they played the usual classic rock finishing songs (though they’re never the same ones so you can’t always tell) and everyone was gearing up to be kicked out, when suddenly the floor exploded with vibrations and the bass kicked in. In the small, cramped, metal room, the bass from the speakers just shoots up through you and really gets into your head. It’s amazing. I reckon I could say that I haven’t had a bad night at any of the club nights corp. Oh, and there’s a balcony and seating area above the upstairs dance room for those of you who want to chill for a bit.

View from the balcony

The people that turn up to these night’s are generally pretty cool too. You hear about people starting fights or getting beaten up by bouncers but those stories tend to be spread by people who want to sound cool or that are being dragged along by their mates. I personally have only seen one of these incidents where a friend of mine got into some mess some huge metal guy back when we were 18 but this was quickly sorted out by the bouncer who managed to break it up without any violence and later apologised to my friend for the trouble. In general most of the people you meet will be friendly and chilled out. I generally don’t have a night where I don’t end up having a random conversation with random people in the queue for the bar, and after my A levels when I went every week I even started to get to know some of the regulars.

The drinks prices are astounding too, for a club night. 50p for a vodka + mixer on  a monday, £1.50 for a pint of carlsberg on a friday, and various other deals on alcopops and “cocktails”. I have to say I’ve never seen prices that low in a club.

Sadly though, It’s often the live music nights where Corporation doesn’t live up to expectations. The large, wide, main room, which is perfect for club nights, is a let down when it comes to bands. The rails which surround the dance floor, for the purpose of putting your drinks down on it, get in the way and break up the crowd, meaning that if you don’t get a good spot early on you may end up stuck behind them and out of the action. The sound desk too, gets put right in the middle of the dance floor. One other feature of the main room is the large gap between the stage and the crowd, meaning that it becomes difficult for bands to interact with the crowd, and at hardcore gigs prevents any stage diving or real crowd surfing. The hight of the stage also contributes to this, with it being quite high above the ground.

The Mirimar Disaster in 2007

The small room is also used for less popular gigs or gigs on club nights (as it’s easily separated). Though you’d think this would be a more personal experience, the hight of the stage again causes you to feel separated from the band. This, combined with the poor layout of the room, with the dance floor being raised above the floor around the bar and room entrance splitting up the crowd, and the same drinks ledges causing separation again. Despite all this though, I have been to some very good gigs at Corp and they do bring in some popular bands.

Yet another thing that corp do best is the hangover. I’ve never had a hangover like the ones I’ve had after a night in corp. Sure singing along to songs at other clubs can break your voice, but singing along to metal all night, while headbanging, moshing, and dancing absolutely destroys you. The whole combination just prevents you from doing anything productive the next day. Though yes, I am aware that I’m doing this while hungover from corp, but meh, it’s not exactly a well written review is it 😛 .

[Edit] I kind of realised I mostly bullshitted this review, I’m not even sure if half of it makes sense. I’ve not really stopped these last few days. If you can’t be bothered to read this, Crack the Skye is a very good album and is worth a listen. [/Edit]

It had been a long time since I last listened to Mastodon. I first heard them not long after the release of Blood Mountain which I thoroughly enjoyed. However I never really heard their earlier albums, and after I got bored of Blood Mountain I didn’t really pay any more attention to them. However, I bought Crack the Skye for my dad as a birthday present, got listening to it myself and haven’t been able to stop.

Crazy album art

It seems Mastodon have continued to take progressive metal to new levels with this album. On the whole they’ve taken a much slower approach this time, introducing the album with the melodic ‘Oblivion’, instantly creating a completely different sound and feel for the album when compared to the bone crunching ‘Blood and Thunder’ and ‘The Wolf is Loose’. This slower and more melodic tone is carried throughout without losing any of the heaviness and while still managing to keep the attention of the listener with it’s pacing and changing melodies.

It’s easy to see why the adverts appearing on websites surrounding the album’s release were heralding Mastodon as saviours of metal with Crack the Skye. When you look at many of the bands at the forefront of metal some of them are really thoughtless and shallow musically, you just need to watch 10 minutes of Kerrang or Scuzz to tell that, and you have to dig really deep in the pile to find something good. Between the Buried and Me, or The Mirimar Disaster are two lesser known gems. Though Between the Buried and Me are still going strong, the Sheffield based The Mirimar Disaster sadly no longer are.

Anyway, back to the music, the album slips effortlessly between the epic, the heavy, and the dark, with Mastodon seeming to attempt to encompass as many of the qualities of metal that they can. Take ‘The Last Baron’ as an example. The opening 3 minutes bring in these rising vocals and slow guitar (the epic) before stepping back into a psychedelic bridge leading into a strangely dark (though I can’t put my finger on why) section of vocals with the guitars stripped back to a minimum, before opening up with the heavy once again. Then, ‘wtf?’, weird proggy guitar solo in the middle of everything. First time I heard it it actually made me laugh. I’m not quite sure about this, being a fan of tech metal I do enjoy a random little riffy proggy solo in the middle of everything but here it feels out of place. This leads back into the rest of the song which continues in much of the same vein. And this is the only complaint I have about the album. It does sometimes feel like some of the music has been put in just for the sake of it, ‘hey why don’t we do this?’, ‘Hah yeah’. Though that is how my band write songs so I can’t really complain.

All in all this is a very enjoyable album.

I guess there’s not much more I can say. Oh yeah, I found an instrumental version online which, if you like bands like Pelican, you will love.

Also, Mastodon have awesome beards.

Except the drummer. Letting the side down mate!

Ok so yesterday I didn’t have time to do a review of anything properly but I wanted to post something, so I did. Now that I have a bit of time I’ll tell you why The Great Misdirect is the best album of all time.

I’ve been a fan of Between the Buried and Me for about a year, having got their discography from a friend in my first year of university in his attempt to get me to listen to something other than power metal. I was initially drawn to their latest album at the time, Colors, through the immense guitar solos, riffs, and truly epic vocal sections, though the progress was slow due to the fact that I did not enjoy the screamy growly vocals of Tommy Rogers. However, over time I found myself enjoying and appreciating the depth that they gave the music, adding an element of aggression and allowing them not to be constrained by typical vocal arrangements, freeing the lyrical structure to be more experimental.

I slowly worked my way back from Colors, through Alaska (arguably their weakest album, though they did say that it was them experimenting with a new sound), The Silent Circus (taking more hardcore elements into their music), and their self titled album (taking metalcore in a different direction). Eventually I began branching out, following all the different elements of their music, taking in hardcore bands such as converge and the dillinger escape plan, prog bands such as pink floyd and jethro tull, and post rock bands such as this will destroy you and 65daysofstatic, the latter of which introduced me to electronica and eventually dubstep. So you can see why I feel so attached to btbam’s music, as they introduced me to music I would never have considered listening to before.

After the release of Colors I saw btbam on their UK tour twice. Then not long after their tour they released a live album, taking in the whole of Colors along with a selection of older songs voted for on their myspace page. Obviously I bought this and have since watched/listened to it many times. According to my last.fm account I have listened to Colors at least 100 times, if not more. And that doesn’t include on my ipod, phone, or on CD or DVD. Then they announced The Great Misdirect.

Screamy vocals

In January I discovered btbam had signed up for a twitter account, which they stated was there purely to keep fans updated on the progress of their new album which they announced they had started writing not long before. So for half a year I watched them update their fans with various random posts and the occasional announcement that they had recorded a song or a drum track. Then finally they announced the album was finished and would be out in October. When the release date came round I had a shiny new copy of The Great Misdirect along with 3 bottles of Hobgoblin and a couple of mates to listen to it with.

This is where the review gets difficult, as I could simply rant about how awesome it is, but I don’t want to do that, I want to try and be objective about it. So first let me talk about what a lot of people find to be the put off with bands like btbam, the screaming. I’m not quite sure what it is that drew me towards finding it one of the main pluses about btbam’s music, but it is as integral to their sound as the guitars or drums. Perhaps it stems from the lyrics. When you read the lyrics you really get a feel for the meaning of the music and the use of harsh vocals to convey that meaning.

I awake with a cool breeze blowing through my dirty hair.
Rested, stable… a first.
A caffeine junkie’s longest wish: peace and quiet…
No wake-ups, no expectations…
A strange feeling… suddenly drifting…
This “as seen on T.V.” anchor is just another lie I guess…
hoping for something not there.
Filling a void that I can’t quite put my finger on.

As you can see from this section of lyrics from ‘Swim to the Moon’ from The Great Misdirect, they structure is not typical. The train of thought that most of their lyrics seem to follow lends itself perfectly to the harsh screams. Repetition of lines and sections in the song but not in the writing is common, another feature allowed by the vocals, the written lyrics tell the story while they can be arranged at will in the song, though in the correct order.

MESMERIZED.
The populations soon follow the clown’s lead.
Death is in the air.
The three adults once again start talking…
They ask questions of faith and love.
“We shall live past these days, rid of all we’ve done.”
I see what they mean now… but the wretched smell has overcome…
I am gone…
THE BABY BORN WITH THE END OF THE WORLD… Awake…
The five of us haven’t spoken in hours.
Sitting alone to our own thoughts.
Only we will know what strange things boredom has created.

Lost Perfection (b): Coulrophobia from The Silent Circus

The harsh vocals also provide a stark contrast to Tommy’s ‘clean’ vocal sections. The acoustic section of Fossil Genera (TGM) followed by an orchestral finale reminiscent of recent Muse songs, leading into what I consider one of the best songs of the album, Desert of Song, an ode to the evolution of music. This one done entirely without screams (the first mid-album song to do this since shevanel take 2, 3 albums prior).

With every album the complexity of the instrumentals has increased, and TGM is no exception. Having written 3 albums with the current band members, btbam are really beginning to perfect their sound. The depth of the lyrics only equalled by the complexity of the music. Taking hardcore metal and turning it into progressive music is no simple task, especially with btbams tendency for excessive guitar solos and riffs. Listening to the album as I write this I can pick out every instrument individually, but cannot separate them from each other, and I’m finding it extremely hard to think of something to write about them. Take the final song of the album, Swim to the Moon as an example. Opening with an oriental sounding mix of synths and percussion the first 2 minutes of the song switch between slow echoey guitar and fast paced complex riffs (using the term riff in its loosest sense) without blinking an eye, with Tommy Roger’s synths providing the perfect background. I would love to see this live as the interaction between Paul Waggoner’s and Dustie Waring’s guitars is mindblowingly intense, especially during the early vocal sections. Dan Briggs’ bass adds yet another depth to the music, rarely following a simple pattern underneath the guitars, but more often becoming the focal point of the melody and driving the music forwards. In the making of DVD they say that dummer Blake Richardson recorded the entire drum track for this album in 2 days. Well, that’s awesome.

Paul Waggoner is my favourite guitarist of ALL TIME

Woah, lots of text, no pictures. Here’s a video of Blake recording the drums to the second track of TGM.

See? Awesome.

There isn’t really anything more productive I can say about this album. I could probably spend a thousand words ranting about how awesome each member of the band is. If you look at their twitter or their youtube channel they seem like they’re just standard awesome people. They don’t drink, most of them are vegan or vegetarian at the least, which is always a downside (lol).

So yeah, I’ll end this review with what I posted yesterday.

THIS ALBUM IS THE GREATEST ALBUM EVER! GO BUY IT!

Is it strange that the first thing that comes to mind when I think about how to review Jethro Tull’s concert in Sheffield City Hall last night is ‘the volume was just right’ ?

I don’t know a huge amount of Jethro Tull. I have the album Aqualung and love it, but they’ve done a lot since then, none of which I have heard, so when I went to see them with my dad last night I didn’t really know what to expect. As it turns out they’re amazing whether you know their songs or not. The set opened with a nice chilled out number with Ian Anderson initially alone on the stage later being joined by guitarist Martin Barre. They eased the audience into the set with a couple of slower numbers before cracking out the flute and some more up tempo songs, though as I didn’t know most of these I couldn’t say what they were. Ian Anderson was as energetic as ever, prancing about the stage (and I mean that in a good way) interacting with the rest of the band and the audience.

One thing that really stood out to me about this gig in comparison to the many others I’ve been to (other than the fact that it was seated only) was the volume. Most gigs that I’ve been to, especially smaller or unsigned gigs, have been almost unbearably loud, with the levels of the instruments and vocals either all wrong, or all so loud that you can’t tell them apart. There was no part in this gig where I felt any one instrument was being forced out by another, which meant that the long instrumental sections were especially impressive, with the bass, guitar, keys, and flute all playing in sync and with perfect levels. But it wasn’t just the levels that were influenced by the easy volume, but my enjoyment of hearing the music. Now call me an old man if you will, but I’ve recently been finding much more enjoyment in listening to music quietly due to fucking up my ears with too many metal gigs, and this just made it so much nicer to listen to. The fact that everyone was sat down detracted from the music slightly, as at most gigs I’ve been to the band is only 80% of what makes it good, with the audience singing, moshing, or just waving their arms in the air being part of the awesomeness. However this was outweighed by the fact that I was actually able to see the band (as I’m quite short you see), and if anything it was a well thought out move as being young I was part of a very small minority.

There’s not much more I can say except all in all this was an extremely enjoyable gig. With the highlight being the final song (pre-encore) being one of my favourites, Aqualung.

Finally I shall leave you with this, as it was the first thing that came to mind when Ian Anderson first did a flute solo, and rightly so considering that’s what it’s inspired by.