Archives for posts with tag: Envy

(First posted on on 25/10/2011)

Disclaimer: As with all my music reviews, this is a blow-by-blow account taken from my own perspective and written mostly for myself as a memory aid. I’m not always an expert on the band in question.

After missing out on Envy last time, I was determined to have that evasive gig with them where they climactically threw themselves and their instruments into the crowd of adoring fans. A month of minor crappy incidents involving public transport and pent up frustration had me fired up for it too.

And with that feeling we were off to a good start as the guitar/drum duo of Bronto Skylift canoodled onto the stage until they had the crowd’s attention. Moments into their set I thought that we’d just discovered a Scottish Lightning Bolt. From their first awkward moments upon arrival out of the blue they shot, so in ways we had.

It didn’t take me long to notice the drummers broken high-hat after he pounded the drums like a professional sprinter being chased by wolves to the sound of the guitarists’ almost Take A Worm For a Walk Week-like jilted rhythms. Mix this with shifting rhythm changes and vocals that had a kind of awkward call-and-response pop feel to them and you had what could’ve been a pretty eclectic pit, and yet it didn’t occur. Perhaps this was because they were in the support slot and folks were saving themselves, or perhaps people just weren’t familiar enough with their music to move. Fair enough.

After snaffling up their album like penny sweets, the more I listen to Bronto Skylift, the more I wish they had a bassist. I can’t shake the feeling that Bronto’s heavy moments wanted something deep behind them for people to throw themselves around to and the poppier call and response moments could have done with some gonzo or funk bass to match the hack and slash groove of the guitar. Regardless, they’d make a great night in the 13th Note or King Tuts with like-minded friends. For me, they’ll be one to watch and I hope to see them live again soon. Not sure they were right for the Envy crowd mind you…

After all, if the fans had the dedication to come see a band on a Monday night who traveled half way around the world to play for them, you’d think they might feel obliged to move or clap along to them. Surely they wouldn’t treat them with the same lack of response as a local band with an experimental style they might not of heard of? Surely they wouldn’t treat them that way…? Envy of all bands?

Although March feels like a distant memory now, the large sweeps and climaxes brought me back to that night I caught my first live taste of the Envy experience. If that was all I’d enjoyed about Envy I would probably be writing a similar review to the Mono one a while back – pretty to listen to but not an exciting live experience.

Envy couldn’t have been further from this. Although they share elements of what Mono offer – the beautiful sweeping almost orchestral parts – they back this up with massive builds that make you just want to throw yourself around all the more when they explode into a combination of riffs and rhythms that then settle into beautiful serenades  like no other band I know of is really offering right now. I tried to prepare myself with some of their releases before the gig but the live experience just blew it all away. I find myself now trying to recapture the sound with “Insomniac Doze”.

So how did the Monday-night hangover of a crowd take this opportunity? With folded arms and hands in pockets. My issue with this performance wasn’t the band at all but the lifeless crowd.

But don’t get me wrong. I don’t expect everyone to get into a performance or jump around on a Monday night. Christ, I don’t even expect a majority of them to do so. I did however, expect that there would be a small group of people up the front or in the middle of the venue at least willing to jump up and down or clap along – excited just to be there. At one point I was hoping just for other people besides my musical compadre-in-arms to move their heads even.

At the end of the gig the band were selling merch. Earlier on, I tried to strike up conversation with the lead singer, who suprised me with his fluent English. Afterward the gig I just wanted to bow low and apologise to him and his band for coming all the way out here to play for us.

“Please come back! We won’t be shit next time!”

They didn’t give us an encore, and we didn’t deserve it. Sometimes I naively think that bands read reviews and blogs like this and react. If so:

Sukottorando mo kuru onegaishitashimasu Envy-sama! Moushiwake arimasen!

The whole experience, although a great performance, left me green for those 300 or so people who got into that shed over half a year ago back in Tokyo…



(First posted on on 03/03/2011)

Disclaimer: As with all my music reviews, this is a blow-by-blow account taken from my own perspective and written mostly for myself as a memory aid. I’m not always an expert on the band in question.

After dashing out of Boris, I nipped over to stage 2 where Keiji Haino was already making a helluva lot of noise.

Stage 2 was notable because it was essentially just a shed with a capacity of what looked like 300 maximum, maybe less. Security had set up a barrier in front of the shed so you couldn’t see in it but got the full din of whatever it was that was going on inside. The only way you could get a glimpse at the acts on stage was if you started queuing up to get in, which meant you had no chance of hearing anything from stage 1 if you made that choice – as I did.

I thought I had time to get a drink before Envy so went over and queued for a while. My need for liquids was flawed as it meant that I missed getting into the shed of exclusivity for Envy.

With two drinks in hand, I tried any way and while I was waiting I plugged in my earphones and set my MP3 player to “Further Ahead of the Warp” from Insomniac Doze, and the strangest thing happened. Bearing in mind that I couldn’t see what was going on, I heard no cheering from the sound outside my headphones, but what sounded like the band playing the very same track I had just started listening to. The queue outside piled up to see what was going on and I did too only for the music to suddenly stop. Perhaps it was the sound techs? Perhaps it was the band? I won’t know for sure.

About 5 or 10 minutes later the band really did start to play and the guitars sounded really crisp and beautiful as they echoed out of the shed and into the main food court and queuing area. The singer’s voice sounded much rawer than on the recording as I saw his head bobbing around from the back of the queue. As some people in the shed left, the queue inched forward and by the end of the set I was at the front. So near yet so far…

Disappointing really as they sounded really good. Alternatively, I could definitely have seen Autolux on Stage 1 but then I wouldn’t have got in to see Melt Banana who followed Envy on Stage 2.

When the last song ended the band jumped into the crowd clutching guitars and drum cymbals. I guess next time I’ll know to dehydrate if I want to see a good live gig. Let’s enjoying collapsing!

Le sigh…