Thursday 11 November 2010

Esben & The Witch at Electrowerkz - 10 November 2010

Esben and The Witch

They’ve changed things around in this venue since I was last here. Walls aren’t where they used to be. Electrowerkz is an atmospheric and fascinating place, all dark corridors and suspicious-looking outcrops of metal ducting. It’s like walking through a video game.

It is also a royal pain in the arse to navigate around, with every facility a five minute traipse away from everything else, on a different level or out of order. The gents are so far away they are in a different postcode.

I don’t normally write about bands that I don’t care for, because I generally feel that saying “Here’s a band called [insert name] that you’ve never heard of and they’re rubbish” is a waste of my time and yours. However, this evening it can’t be helped - both supports are extremely tiresome and to some extent they affect the light in which I see the headliners.

I’ll be brief.

worriedaboutsatan are two guys indulging themselves with the most pedestrian electronica imaginable. They drag on and on, boring the life out of the room. In their minds they are fusing the dance sensibilities of Underworld with the edginess of an act like 65daysofstatic, but in reality they are just one long wet fart. God, they are tedious! I try to pay as little mind to them as possible as they wibble, bobble and faaaaaaaaart away onstage.

After that, next act Gallops just make me feel old. They are certainly very good at what they do, and do expend a lot of energy, but, on a day when a few cracked windows in Westminster are called “a riot”, I hark back fondly to the days when prog rock King Crimson codswallop like this would have been met with a hail of bottles. Nowadays the youth actually seem to like this stuff.

So, after such disappointing supports, I’m not in the most benign of moods for headliners Esben and The Witch.

I had previously seen these guys at Offset, where they seemed really impressive. Tonight, things don’t seem to quite gel.

The band’s live dynamic is pretty good. Singer Rachel emotes and batters her drum; a guitarist flops his hair and occasionally joins in to leather the hell out whatever equipment he can lay his hands on. It’s all very proficient.

Individually, the songs are interesting. ‘Lucia At The Precipice’ is a good tune, ‘The Marching Song’ is even better - it’s just that all E&TW’s songs when laid end to end, are very funereal, very samey and very, let’s face it, Goth. So, as the set progresses, I can feel my spirits ebbing away to be replaced with a bad case of the glums.

Things spark into life (relatively) at the end, when Rachel clutches her microphone and rocks back and forth towards the audience intoning something like “Be Quiet, Be Quiet”. It’s too little, too late.

It’s been a frustrating evening, to say the least. Bah, humbug!

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