Apologies for two days without blog posts! Friday evening was spent in Islington at the O2 academy and hence the lack of posts whilst Saturday was spent playing Team Fortress 2 lobbies.
I haven’t been to an O2 academy for a while.. mainly due to my music taste being very obscure (see last.fm) so it was actually a bit of an experience to be back in one. I can’t claim it to be a total joy of an evening. The sound quality in the venue was on the loud but total shit side of the audio quality spectrum. Bass guitar was muddy and lacked crispness or clarity which made most of the first support band’s crescendos sound the same. Brrrrrr.
After the initial band though came the two bands I’d actually made my way to Islington to see: Caspian and God Is An Astronaut. Both create music in the post-rock genre which wikipedia classifies as like rock but concentrating more on timbre. It’s a meaningless definition and most post-rock bands hate it, but it does help clarify the sound of the music to other people.
I’ve never been a huge fan of Caspian, i’ve always found that their work lacks originality. It’s in the bit of post-rock I classify as Explosions In The Sky rip-off. I’m happy to say that once the sound was sorted out after the second song or so that they absolutely blew me away. A diverse body of work with awesome math-rock-esque rhythm changes. There was some songs I recognised from their one initial EP that I owned but plenty of work from newer albums as well as one new song they tried out on the crowd. The crowd were pretty excitable, particularly the red head at the front left of the stage! Caspian seemed really happy and excited to be there and if around London again I’d definitely give them another listen. The finale where all the band members gradually switched to drums for a crescendo was a exhilerating end to an enjoyable set.
At this point my ears were beginning to ring from the volume. I’m not sure why O2 feel the music needs to be at 11, it wasn’t exactly a big venue. 2 days later my ears are beginning to stop with the buzz but I’ve purchased some musician ear plugs. Apparantly they block out the sound lowering it 22db without making it sound like you’re listening through.. well, ear plugs. Hopefully they’ll arrive before my next gig because with this frequency I don’t want to cause myself permament problems!
God Is An Astronaut came on after a fairly quick set change. Only a three-piece band it wasn’t surprising that much of the synths in their music were pre-recorded with the band mainly concentrating on the drums, guitars and vocodered vocals. I think it’s fair to say that the newer God Is An Astronaut tunes just didn’t get the crowd as excited as some of the classic songs. As a whole the set was enjoyable, but not electrifying. This is a bit like God Is An Astronaut themselves. Never music that blows you away but a pleasant listen every now and then. Fire Flies and Suicide By Star were my favourite songs from the set and the ones I’ll leave you with now: