support Dredg
author PP date 20/09/05 venue Mean Fiddler, London, UK

Never before have I seen no queue outside of the Mean Fiddler only thirty minutes after the doors opened. With a lineup boasting of two of the hottest names of their respective genres today, you would expect a line at least 100 metres only half an hour after the doors, specially as the venue was sold out to its limits. Dredg has obtained nearly a legendary status in the experimental/progressive rock scene during the last few years, while Thrice's latest album "The Artist Of The Ambulance" made the band world famous within the hardcore punk scene. But without a doubt, it was Thrice that everyone had come to see tonight.


The moment Dredg entered the stage everyone knew they would witness something entirely different from the usual. As the band approached the stage, something resembling a laugh of a cursed child from a Japanese horror movie was circulating the venue, taken from the ending of "Sang Real". And as soon as the band broke out to "Ode To The Sun" and their frontman Gavin Hayes started his strange, swaying dance movement across the stage, the crowd didn't know what to think. But by the second song "Bug Eyes" most of the crowd was sold to the beautiful guitar harmonies and the relax atmosphere. The band was fortunate to have the most crystal clear sound I've ever experienced live. The balance of the bass, guitar, drums, keyboard and vocals was perfect and the overall volume couldn't have been at a better level. Songs like "Convalescent" and "The Canyon Behind Her", sounded better than ever at the dark corners of Mean Fiddler. As with all experimental/prog rock bands, a certain amount of mystery and ambiguity surrounded Dredg throughout their performance. Like most bands in this genre, they addressed the crowd seldomly, and allowed their music to speak for them. Given that their music is difficult to understand on the first listen, I was surprised how many members of the audience evidently were having a great time swaying along with Gavin. Their finishing song "Yatahaze" was the highlight of their set. The way the song broke down to screaming half way, only to be finished with an astonishing instrumental part, followed by the crew members taking off the drumset piece by piece until there was nothing left to drum on and their drummer Dino STILL kept going on with a keyboard until that was taken away too, was, mildly said, impressive as fuck.



After Dredg's perfect sound, I was getting worried about how Thrice would sound like. After all, last time I experienced as great sound as this was a few weeks ago at the Malmø Festival during Beecher's performance. Afterwards, Darkest Hour's sound was so bad I shouldn't even mention it. And as soon as Thrice entered the stage, my worst fears materialized. The vocals and the bass overpowered the guitars at the most important places; it was impossible to hear any guitars during the solo parts for "Kill Me Quickly", and "The Artist In The Ambulance" sounded absolutely shit tonight.

As if the bad sound wasn't enough, the band chose to play the worst possible setlist. If you possess songs as awesome as "A Subtle Dagger", "In Years To Come", "The Beltsville Crucibe", "See You In The Shallows", "A Living Dance Upon Dead Minds", and countless others, you just can't leave them out of your set. And if your new record is nearly a month away from being released it's not the best idea to have almost every second song to be a new one, as it breaks the flow of the concert. The only new song people actually recognized tonight was the recently released "Image Of The Invisible". The fact that this was the song that people sang back the loudest tells a little bit about their set order. Throughout their set people kept shouting "Play DEADBOLT!", "DEADBOLT COME ON", and their vocalist Dustin also mentioned this before their encore: "I know you guys have been shouting for this song all night long so here it is, DEADBOLT". Along with "Kill Me Quickly" and one of the new songs from "Vheissu" it was the highlight of the night.

Their showmanship was excellent. It's not too often you get to see a band as energetic as Thrice; their headbanging was passionate and it was clear they wanted to put on a great show. And it wasn't their stage show that failed, but rather the setlist. One of my major "turn offs" was that the band avoided playing "Identity Crisis", which by far is my personal favourite. It was clear that the band was pursuing a more of a hardcore set tonight than a greatest hits set; songs like "Stare At The Sun", "Trust" and "To Awake And Avenge The Dead" played a major part in today’s set on top of the four or five new songs tonight. But as a longtime fan of the band, I came to see the "Greatest Hits" set and not the hardcore set. If I wanted to see a hardcore set i would've gone see some other band..


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