Gig Fatigue. I think i’ve been suffering from it lately. But the Overhead, The Albatross / We Arrive Alive / Margie Lewis gig in the Twisted Pepper last saturday night I think might have been just the antidote. Thank fuck too, cause theres nothing worse than being gig-weary. I think I’m cured.
Standing aside a table full of pretty looking analogue instruments, I had very little idea of what to expect from Margie Lewis, who opened the Overhead, the Albatross show in the Twisted Pepper on Saturday night with an equal measure of self-possession and hesitant nerves. Her set was a sort of mirror of this dichotomy. Looping details from her expertly played antique instruments, the set at once verged on folky - with the inclusion of a thumb piano, ukulele, violin and an amazing, newly received table harp - and a more modern electro vibe. Her own vocals - which followed the same looping patterns as her plethora of instruments, was layered and vaguely pixie-esque in its delivery, though moved swiftly to shouted and static staccato moments - made all the more unexpected by Margies’ humble and adorable stage persona. The latter songs in the set - none of which had their titles announced unfortunately - were the more raucous of the short 20 minute display. Lewis finished off her set with a song that layered vocals, programmed drums and more of her varied instrumentation, that brought a slight Biork reference to mind. Online, there is scant trace of Margies’ solo work, though you can check out vocals she did on this Bantum track here.
We Arrive Alive
This is an act that I have been anxious to see for a long time, but foibles of scheduling contrived to make me miss every gig they have played in the last few months. They are as great live as their recordings suggest. An onslaught of energetic and frenetic activity onstage, they seem to be many more than their 5 pieces - and filled the stage with rambunctious energy. Earlier songs in the set, such as ‘Slow Fall’, had great blocky drums and keyboard lines - and were cinematic in their soft and slow build. Though this theme lasted only a short two songs before it was announced ‘Sorry to all you ambient lovers out there. It’s all over from now on in’ before the quintet proceeded to launch into the more intense side of their 3 guitar, bass-y, drum driven mayhem of cacophonous sound for the remainder of their set. Their music is a constant build and relief of noise, and it is this juxtaposition of tension that heightens the senses. Grimey reverb, smashing guitar sounds and repetitive themes throughout songs make this band one that i will certainly be looking out for. If you need an introduction, check out ‘Walls’ from We Arrive Alives’ EP of the same name here.
Overhead, The Albatross
Pure sonic aggression seemed to tumble down off the stage as the six lads that make up Overhead, The Albatross took over the space. ‘Pigonometry’ - one of my own personal favorites - was one of the first songs on the night, and is indicative of their seemingly frenetic, yet completely premeditated style of music, but other songs - such as ‘Liam Neeson’ - with its Elton John-esque (yes, that is a term now) piano line - were equally as epic on the night and performed with such vigor that I was sure there would be some sort of unfathomable injury done to one of the lads as they mounted amps, whilst enshrouded in wafts of smoke that rose from the stage, backlit by the awesome lighting that makes me fall even more in love with Twisted Pepper stage shows every time. With grandiose and rhythmic instrumentation- their music is, for me, more akin to classical composition than anything else, though the inclusion of clicking and clunky guitar sounds and quirky vocal samples that catapult it very much into the 21st century. The show, at one point, seemed to be inspiring some serious three man love up the front, where arm in arm, a trio of spectators swayed in appreciative harmony to the music, whilst others held up homemade signs that read ‘something’, ‘something’ ‘LADS’ (though I might have missed out on other signs that completed that partial thought there - sorry). Finishing with ‘Flubirds’ in all its crashing drums, violin programmed, slow-headbang-inspiring glory, it was a great performance.
(Also, and this isn’t one of those throwaway ‘the band were crap but the venue was amazing’ comments - but holy shit - The Twisted Peppers’ lights are fucking unbelievable - Its a cracking venue.)