Special guests are Norway's Årabrot, who have added a bass player to their usual guitar and drums set up. Maybe I was just distracted by their lack of clothes, as each member stripped to the waist at the start of the gig, but I found their first few tunes a bit underwhelming. I was expecting them to be a bit unhinged but what I got was Melvins-style metal, which is fine, but I enjoyed them a lot more when they got looser and they hinted at Jesus Lizard and the Birthday Party influences. The bassist added some extra drums to a couple of songs and the two core members traded vocals towards the end too. They were loud though, and I think that fact plus the unfamiliarity with their material drove some of the crowd downstairs.
The sold out audience soon file back and by the time White Hills take the stage there is a sense of anticipation in the air. Tonight they are a trio, with drummer Nick Name joining up with the core duo of Dave W. and Ego Sensation.
'Song of Everything' and 'You Dream You See' are two powerful pieces of space-rock, and just when it was getting a bit too similar, 'You Dream' reveals a mid-section that's full of surprises and takes the song somewhere else. 'Robot Stomp' is a monotonous slab of repetition on the album but it comes alive here and makes more sense. The doomy trance of 'Condition of Nothing' is a perfect way to follow it, connecting the twin influences of Hawkwind and Mudhoney to great effect.
Although billed as an album launch, this turned out to be a long set featuring lots of old and new material. I know the band are in the middle of an epic tour but it seemed that tonight was a high point for them and for the audience. They played a blinder and left a lot of people stunned, in that post-gig trance you can only get from this kind of immersive, psychedelic music. Top night.