Friday, 28 November 2014

Looking forward

Last night, I was doing my usual thing at 1 am, lying in bed, not bothering to go to sleep yet, browsing random stuff on the net. For some reason I had decided to look up crazy university stories that people posted on the student room, which of course almost always involving being drunk. It got me thinking, not just about pranks to play and drinking games..

I'm looking forward to uni quite a lot. Obviously studying audio engineering is a big part of what i'm looking forward to, but a fair bit of it is of course the social aspect of it, and entailed with that, living in the city again. While nights out in Salisbury aren't the was nice being able to decide on any given night to go out, and stumble back home at 2am. It's so much harder to even organise weekend plans now, no "I wonder who might be out, let's cycle to town and see" anymore.
I miss the convince of living in town.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Blog update (part 2)

The next gig I saw was of a rather different genre. The headlining band I had seen last year, with Karnivool. I went with my dad, and it just happened that the friend I saw TesseracT with last year was there too. I'll be honest that the main reason I went was because Animals as Leaders were playing. 

One interesting part of the lineup was the opening act, Navene-K. This is an electronic solo project by Animals as Leaders ex drummer. He makes a lot of use of looping and playback software, playing a prerecorded electronic track in the background, playing guitar and looping it, then playing drums, encorproating electronic samples with it. I was mostly interested in hearing this because it was something NEW. People playing live drums along to electronic music isn't particular new to me, however what he was doing, creating almost all of the performance himself through his extensive looper use was. I'm interested in this as lately with issues organising a band, I've been entertaining the idea of playing dual guitar songs myself, using loopers & of course writing songs suitable for that use. His set was pretty good. On YouTube had watched one or two sets that he had done ealrier during the tour, but often there can be fairly big differences between live and recorded performances, usually to do with the venue and the sound engineers. 

Next up were Animals as Leaders. Needless to say, their set was incredible. The played a lot of material from their latest album, which I was pleased by, as I think it is their strongest one to date. Tosin, their lead guitarist used a lot of looping, playing rhythms and doing solos over them while Javier, their second guitarist played the bass lines. The fact the group did not have, or need a bassist was interesting, as at times, both Javier and Tosin were playing heavy, chunky bass lines on their guitars using slap techniques. The tonal creativity their axe-fxs allowed must have contributed to this, but it was still impressive, for them to have such a full, heavy sound with a three piece band that rarely relied on a backing track. During one of the songs, Tosin also used a rather strange seven string guitar which I never knew about, which can't be described with words..

Seeing him pick it up and play it was a rather odd surprise for me. In my opinion, they were the highlight of the night, partially because this was my first time seeing them, but also because they were just so tight live. 

TesseracT were on last, with a change since I had last seen them. A little while ago during the summer, they announced that their vocalist, Ashe had left the band (on good terms). In his place they had got Daniel Tompkins, who had sung for them on their album One, before Ashe joined the band. It was interesting having heard both vocalists live as it showed up each of their strengths and weaknesses. I think that while Ashe sometimes found it hard to hit the really high notes, his voice flowed so well, and he sustained notes much longer than Daniel. On the other hand, Dan had a much stronger voice, hitting incredibly high notes, and also had a better growling voice. One thing I was not expecting was that Daniel, who sung a lot of harsh vocals when he was previously in the band, seemed to mostly be sticking to clean vocals, which I guess is because that is the direction the band is heading in. I can't honestly say I prefer the band with either of their lineups, they both have different advantages. 

The next gig going to is Parkway Drive, Northlane, Carnifex and Heaven Shall Burn in Bristol!

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Blog update (Part 1)

It's been a while since I posted on here, so I felt an update is long due.

Over the last two months, I've been to some great gigs, beginning with seeing Opeth & Alcest on the 10th of October. It was the start of the first tour Opeth had done since two years previous, not counting a few festivals last year, which Mikael himself said didn't go too well for them.
I went with my dad, buying the tickets for him to pay him back. For me, Opeth were on my 'bucket list' and rightly so. Aside from being a great live band, sounding very close to the original records (to me the material they played from Pale Communion sounded exactly like on album!), their stage presence was great, Mikael being humorous & joking with the audience, despite how he repeatedly mentioned how nervous they were, given that it was their first non festival gig they had done in two years.
Their set list was quite odd, they varied it between all 11 albums they had done, nearly covering every one. This meant playing a lot of their older more metal material, which was great. However given that I wasn't so acquainted with their pre-2005 material, some of the songs I didn't know especially well, however that didn't detract at all from the performance.

Alcest were an interesting support act, to define their genre, I'd call them a shoegazey metal band, often referencing death and black metal styles. I had listened to some of their music before the gig, however most of their material was new to me. Considering how full and ambient their sound is, it was hard to perfect this at a gig. They did it well, and it sounded good aside from the vocals which were set a little too quiet.
The vocals were another interesting thing about the band; they were all in French. It was a nice change, rather than to see yet another non-English nationality band write their music in English instead of their native language. The French language & the way it flowed also suited the music.
An interesting point, as someone interested in guitars, amps & audio engineering, it was interesting to see their guitarists using Jazz Choruses and slamming them with pedals to get a distorted sound; I've never really heard many metal artists getting their tone that way.

Considering Opeth have been one of my favorite artists for quite a while, buying merch was a must. While I am a little against the idea of getting yet another black band T-shirt, I felt this one was deserving.

Opeth Setlist:
1) Eternal Rains Will Come
2) Cusp of Eternity
3) Bleak
4) The Moor
5) Advent
6) Elysian Woes
7) Windowpane
8) April Ethereal
9) The Devil's Orchard
10) The Lotus Eater
11) The Grand Conjuration