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Review: 'Spokes / Worriedaboutsatan / Fieldhead'
'Leeds,The Library, 29th March 2009'   

-  Genre: 'Post-Rock'

Our Rating:
No, the venue isn’t an actual library, at least not any more. It’s a pub called The Library, and while there’s no hand-pulled beer to be had, the upstairs room where the bands play is a decent size and nicely done out.

Fieldhead warms things up nicely with swathes of ambient sounds, emanating from the near darkness. The soundscapes are laptop-generated, so there’s not a lot to look at, so the film running on the large screen behind provides some much-needed visual stimulation. Having said that, the sounds are soothing, and it’s a perfect aural anaesthetic.

Worriedaboutsatan turn the lights down further, and play in complete darkness (albeit with a film running), the sole illumination on stage being the glow of the laptop screen. It’s eerie, and as they turn out their glitchy brand of electronica they create a tangible tension. The scratchy click and pop beats give way to thunderous pounding rhythms, and Tom, arched over the Mac, looks like an alien hardwired into the mains as he twitches spasmodically. Meanwhile, lurking in the gloom, Gavin adds depth and texture with drones by means of guitar played with a violin bow. There are points in the set when the sub-bass rumblings are as dark as the stage as they crank out their mutant sounds. The signs are good for their forthcoming long-player due out in May.

I suppose if I was to sum up Spokes in the briefest of terms, I’d have to say Explosions in the Sky with a violin. And occasional vocals. And that’s no bad thing. The delicate picked guitar sections invariably build into epic crescendos, and the lengthy numbers – some seven or more minutes in duration – never outstay their welcome, but are instead given room to breathe. Theirs is a very organic sound, a sound that surges in waves and ebbs and flows and is simultaneously relaxing and exciting.

Any of the bands on the bill would have been worth the fiver entry: as a package, it makes for excellent value. Just a pity about the beer...

  author: Christopher Nosnibor

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