Friday 21 November 2014

Loop and Younghusband at The Garage - 19 November 2014

Loop pic from The Liminal Eye

I’m still a little taken aback by The Garage. It used to be a dusty concrete bunker of a venue, but since it re-opened a few years ago there have been ‘improvements’. Wooden floors. Tables. Some kind of weird black-upholstered banquette behind the mixing desk. It’s all very disconcerting for an old fart like me.

The crowd tonight is mainly composed of men of a similar age and hairline to myself. We reminisce about the past and gather in anticipation of a band from yore that have recently decided that they have a future.

But first, the support. Younghusband are a four piece band of a drone-y, psychedelic disposition. The stage fills with projections of whirling images, hidden messages and other arcana.

The band seem slightly hampered by technical difficulties this evening. Certainly, they have difficulty in getting their three guitars to function at the same time.

However, there is a more fundamental problem. There’s a lot more to this type of music than it sometimes appears, and Younghusband fall headlong into a common trap.

Their songs don’t GO anywhere. The basic sound is OK, but there is very little oomph, nothing that makes you sit up and pay attention. I’m stood in front of the stage looking squarely at them and I find my mind wandering to other matters. The overall effect is pleasant enough, but I suspect that the band would not be content with merely ‘pleasant’.

Compare and contrast with tonight’s headliners. There is more pent up energy and anticipation in a single squall from Loop than in the entire Younghusband set.

Loop initially reformed about a year ago to test the waters and, after a small number of sold out shows, founder Robert Hampson has decided that he has unfinished business, although some other members from the reunion are no longer present.

Loop deal in noise and repetition. A riff is usually brutally short – sometimes no more than two notes- but bludgeoned over and over and over again as a second or third guitar takes flight.

It’s enthralling stuff. The crowd lurch in unison. It’s impossible not to be caught up in the (Wolf) flow.

There is a major buzz of excitement as the band perform the first new Loop tune for decades. ‘Procession’ (or ‘Precession’) is a loud staccato galloping riff that sits very comfortably with the rest of the band’s oeuvre. More new material is promised in the New Year. Loop are clearly a going concern again.

The volume gets ever louder, the feeling of disorientation ever more pronounced. An irony is that with improvements in sound technology, Loop sound clearer and crisper than they ever did back in the day when they would lurch around in clouds of dry ice and produce a muddy rumble from giant loudspeakers.

Loop make a lot of people very happy tonight. And there’s more to come.  


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