The Fall Of Troy

support Daughters + Second Smile
author PP date 28/09/07 venue Islington Academy, London, UK

Last time I saw The Fall Of Troy perform live was almost two years ago when they came together with Fear Before The March Of Flames over to the UK in November 2005 to support The Bled on their UK tour. That night almost everything went wrong, starting from the bands being up to two hours late and consequently having only 15 minute slots each, and not forgetting the overwhelming amount of pretentious scenesters around wearing ultra tight jeans, black died hair dos and musical tastes limited to what their friends like. The only thing that didn't go wrong that night was The Fall Of Troys absolutely mind-blowing set. This time around, however, problems were virtually non existant aside from some minor sound flaws, and scene people were nowhere to be seen. I guess the emo/screamo dressing fad filled with piercings, fake tattoos and stupid hairstyles is finally starting to wear out, and tonight's show had mostly 'normal' people in attendace as I like to put it.

Second Smile

Local UK band Second Smile was the first band on the bill. I've heard their name mentioned here and there over the years, but they've never really made it big and my guess is that their liveshow is why, because it isn't exactly the most interesting spectacle if you catch my drift. They play the sort of experimental post-hardcore flavoured indie rock that can be compared to the likes of Idiot Pilot and Team Sleep (Chino Moreno sideproject). The sound is dreamy and exhiliratingly complex at times, allowing for the listener to be all-encompassed in the songs. We heard about 60% new songs tonight from their new album scheduled to be released sometime next year, and there was some real potential in some of the songs. The only problem was, that the delivery of the songs was absolutely horrible and from the worst end of bands I've seen perform live. Their singer was the only one moving around at all, nobody else was putting any enthusiasm or energy into the songs. The rest of the band sort of just stood still, with the two other guitarists spending their entire stage time facing away from the crowd and staring into the fret respectively, creating absolutely minimal contact with the crowd. With the bass player making barely any effort on the left side of the stage, the overall picture I got from the show was that aside from the lead singer/guitarist, these guys really didn't wanna be here tonight, and didn't enjoy playing their songs. The expression that I used when I was speaking with my fellow RF writer Dan during the show was that these guys look like they wish they could be playing Saosin songs on stage instead of their own. Utterly boring show, but much, in fact very much potential in their songs.



Next band on the bill was Daughters. Prior to the show I had heard numerous rumours about how intense and tight this band was supposed to be on stage, so I was definitely looking forward to seeing what they had to offer on stage. Going into the show with absolutely no research meant that I had only listened to one of their songs briefly on Myspace and found it brutal, but pretty interesting, so I had some idea about how much manicness I should expect from the band. I was caught completely off guard when the band took on stage. What were were presented to was a thirty-five minute session of pure noise. It wasn't chaos, it was clearly incredibly intricate and intensely developed, but it made absolutely no sense to me or half of the crowd. Imagine music with absolutely no rhythm at all, no melody, a singer alternating between semi-screamed and completely off tune clean vocals, and some of the strangest sound effects you'll come to hear. You could argue this band is pushing the boundaries of what can be defined as music further, as they make Heavy Heavy Low Low sound like elementary level standard music class, but based on what I heard tonight I would definitely go for the "out of bounds" definition for this band. It isn't music anymore when the only thing your guitarist is doing is moving his hand at high speeds up and down the fret without actuall hitting any notes, or when your singer sounds like he's high on some kind of substance and is making absolutely no sense whatsoever. I must admit, though, that retrospective research on Myspace proved the band to be better than I initially experienced them live, but I'm rating the live experience not the actual record here, so I can't go with anything higher than a 4, even if that makes me feel a bit stupid for just not understanding their angle well enough.


The Fall Of Troy

I can't help but think that The Fall Of Troy was a little bit off for this tour in their choice of support bands. After all, neither band sounds anything alike the band, and is about as far away from the technical/melodical experience the band gives as black is from white. But hey, how many bands sound like The Fall Of Troy anyway, especially after their latest album "Manipulator"? None that I know of. I must admit, however, that although I did rate Manipulator as good on our rating scale and I do quite like it, I still think it didn't stand a chance against "Doppelgänger", which I believe will once be considered as the The Fall Of Troy album unless the band decides to actually record "The Ghostship" demos at some point in their career.

The band kicked off their set with "Cut Down All The Trees...", and was straight away plagued with massive sound problems. At first you couldn't hear the guitars at all, and then you couldn't hear the vocals, and towards the ending of the song both started sounding far too weak. Fortunately the slight sound problems were fixed for the next song, and "F.C.P.R.E.M.I.X." sounded absolutely amazing. The entire floor of Islington Academy turned into a dance-frenzy, with people moving their bodies around uncontrollably to the frantic melodies fired off by Erak's note-by-note perfect guitar. Throughout the show Erak was equally impressive to what I remember from two years ago, storming around the stage even whilst playing some of the most complex passages in their music. The abilities he showcased tonight were simply jaw-dropping: there are very, very few guitarists in the world who are able to run across the stage while playing an amazing solo with just one hand on the guitar.

"Quarter Past" worked out much better live than I thought. The transition from the slower beginning to the slightly more manic mid part of the song burst the venue into flames, and the sing alongs were massive considering how few of their songs have an actual chorus easy enough for the majority of the crowd to sing along to. Against all my prior expectations, it turned out to be the absolute high point of the gig for me. Watching Erak and co perform this song was almost like witnessing The Mars Volta at their most experimental, the improvisations in the songs seemed almost telepathic between the band members, and the connection between the band and the crowd was at its most intense during this song. But from here on, the novelty of watching Erak perform live started to wear off and I started wondering where all of their best songs where hiding. The band went on to play a few more songs from the new album, and even a super-complex interpretation of Brand New's "Okay I Believe You, But My Tommy Gun Don't", but what happened to "You Just Got This Symphony Goin'", "Mouths Like Sidewinder Missiles" and "Whacko Jacko Steals The Elephant Mans Bones"? Any one of these songs would've driven the crowd crazy, but for one reason or another the band seemed to be avoiding the most manic tracks with the most screaming. Why? I have no idea. I certainly hope this isn't an indication for the band getting tired of writing and playing songs like these, because it was here where the band's absolute strenght lied. As I was leaving the gig, there was a massive empty hole inside me, because a large part of me came here tonight to see those exact songs. Only a small part of me came to see the amazing, indescribable talent possessed by guitarist Thomas Erak and his band on every god damn song they have.

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