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A Storm Of Light

support Minsk + Latitudes
author EW date 28/10/09 venue Bar Academy, London, UK

Thanks only to the wonderful world of music journalism had I earlier this year been exposed to Minsk and their sterling "With Echoes In The Movement Of Stone", a deep and provocative record that will be making my end of year top 10. So with the band touring Britain and beyond with A Storm Of Light I took the opportunity of more free things to go and see how the band were in the live setting, a proposition I have been excited about ever since "With Echoes..." trudged out of my speakers.

Latitudes

First up were Latitudes, a band I had previously caught twice before. The first of those times was supporting the excellent Bossk in a performance I really enjoyed, suggesting I should keep a closer eye on them in the future. Whilst not as inventive as Bossk, Latitudes' vocal-less post-rock/metal/ambient mix is better live than on record where the sonic wall of guitar creates a void in which one silently deduces their own meanings and conclusions, as willed to do in a set devoid of any spoken word. The sound granted Latitudes in this small club/bar was a bit on the muddy side but as the crowd steadily increased from a hardy few to a decent gathering by the band's conclusion, so did their performance improve likewise, culminating in a show not that of the Bossk quality but entirely worthy of opening this like-minded trio of bands.

6

Minsk

It transpired much to my intrigue that the show was not to be headlined by Minsk, pushing them into a lengthy support slot role. Through being unable to afford the band's first two albums I had only "With Echoes..." based material to go by for Minsk's set, which thankfully for me was based heavily on this most recent outing - highlighted by a 20-minute rendition of the 11-minute "Requiem: From Substance To Silence" that I suspected might never end as the minutes ticked by. Stage performance needn't have been flashy (difficult on a stage the size of that at the Bar Academy) but the nature of Minsk's material, played at a slow Tool-esque pace, is better suited to the simple show we were granted. The band's performance of songs like "Three Moons", "Consumed By Horizons" and "Crescent Mirror" were excellent, with notable reference deserving of the vocal combination of keyboardist Tim Mead and guitarist Chris Bennett which guide the songs through the reflective meandering being played out with wonderful aplomb and timing. Yes the sound could have been clearer but as the crowds polite applause suggested between songs and at Minsk's termination there was a good deal of respect generated by this performance that suggested it's not just me who has been impressed by this band in 2009, identifying a band we all hope to hear more from in the future.

8

A Storm Of Light

I was given a quick introduction to A Storm Of Light by the bloke beside me at the bar before their set began, stating that these guys could effectively be seen as a side-project of the incredibly highly rated Neurosis due to the presence of guitarist Josh Graham in both ranks, a factor I s'pose as influential in their top of the bill ranking as much as the quality of the music. Reliant on the same kind of static, intense stage demeanour as Minsk produced a show that was, in my mind, a good all-round performance yet one which left me with no lasting memories or songs I could recall (no, I was not drunk). Even with my limited knowledge of Neurosis the mothership's influence was clear to see (as it is on the entire disparate genre these three bands come under) in the heavy ambience, complex drumming and weighty riffage that came from the stage of A Storm Of Light during their lengthy set. The band's performance showed a conviction and self-belief that is essential to any band with aspirations of 'making it', but in trying to pick out individual highlights or moments my mind is left blank, a situation that would no doubt have been very different with prior experience of their music.

6

Rounding off this low-key night's entertainment solidly, it was however without doubt the performance of Minsk that this writer went away thinking about as the one to cherish, giving even greater impetus to the record coming from my speakers at this very moment: "With Echoes In The Movement Of Stone".

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