Live Review: This Will Destroy You and sleepmakeswaves at San Fran, Wellington

This Will Destroy You sleepmakeswaves San Fran Wellington
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This Will Destroy You (Texas, USA)

w/ sleepmakeswaves (Sydney, Australia) and Spook The Horses (Wellington)

San Fran, Wellington

Sunday 7 June 2015

Image: Fergus Cunningham

Image: Fergus Cunningham

Local act Spook The Horse started the night off strong with their searing post-hardcore set. At stages heavy with roaring, and other times calm and contemplative, with plenty of tambourine shaking in between. They ensured that those who arrived early were rewarded for their attendance.

Sydney post-rock quartet sleepmakeswaves were outstanding. This show was towards the end of a long tour (22 countries over a three-month period), but they showed no signs of waning, clearly loving every moment onstage. Most bands who play this kind of music stand there solemnly in the dark as they play, but the lads from SMW were jumping around all over the place having the time of their life. I swear I didn’t see the drummer’s face once, hidden behind his shaggy mop of hair. The music was upbeat and positive, accompanied by quirky electronic samples. It was such a good set that I could have quite happily called it a night then.

Image: Fergus Cunningham

Image: Fergus Cunningham

After sleepmakeswaves’ energetic set, This Will Destroy You didn’t seem nearly as exciting. It was late on a Sunday night and the music was so slow that I could hear my bed calling me. Guitarist Jeremy Galindo was seated for the whole set and even commented that he was ready for bed too. I’m glad I didn’t answer the call though, because I was soon swept up in the music.

TWDY had one of the most intricate set-ups that I’ve seen. Transformers to help compensate for the electrical system differences between NZ and USA. Pedals upon pedals upon pedals. Keyboards and dials and switches, all draped in an assortment of wires. A spaghetti monstrosity of cables laying claim to most of the stage.

And all this equipment was used to create the music. Swells and hums and intricate layers of sound. Spaced drumming with washy cymbals. Sparse keyboard notes on top of haunting white noise. Even though the music was slow and the set lasted almost two hours, it certainly didn’t feel like it. Time didn’t drag its heels, but instead flew past sooner than I realised. And when my eyelids would start to feel heavy the band would launch into an electrifying overdriven segment to wake me up again. TWDY didn’t have the same stage presence of the previous two bands: they let their music do the talking.

Image: Fergus Cunningham

Image: Fergus Cunningham

Not only were we treated to seeing This Will Destroy You, but they also brought another stellar international band with them as support. And sleepmakeswaves actually put on the best performance of the night. It was a relatively small turn out, something that I can only attribute to the fact that it was a Sunday night. And it did go late, until around 12.20am. But once the sleep deprivation wears off, I don’t think anyone in attendance would say they regret having gone.

Joseph James

Thanks to Fergus Cunningham for the photos.

Live Review: Jakob at San Fran, Wellington

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Jakob guitarist Jeff Boyle adjusting his effects pedals at the Wellington gig on Friday night

Jakob guitarist Jeff Boyle adjusting his effects pedals at the Wellington gig on Friday night

Jakob (Napier, NZ)

w/ Bachelor of Architecture & Spook the Horses

San Francisco Bathhouse, Wellington

Friday 24 October 2014

It seems that it has been quiet on the Jakob front for a very long time. Their last record, Solace, was released in 2006. And the semi-regular gigs seemed to have stopped since they opened for Tool in Auckland during May last year. There have been a few side projects like Mean and Desbot to whet our appetites, but still fans were left hungry for more.

And now, a tremendous new album, Sines, with an accompanying tour to boot! To say I am thrilled is an understatement.

It felt so right being back at the freshly renovated San Francisco Bathhouse, watching such a glorious band. I have missed both the venue and the band so much.

Although no mention of opening acts were on the tour poster or the website, Wellington had two.

Bachelor of Architecture started the night with his sonic soundscapes. The most interesting part for me was seeing him play an unusual instrument: a metal fireplace shovel with a bow. Although BoA may have seemed suitable to open, his music was too long and directionless to be captivating.

Spook the Horses were more exciting. Their driving music seemed more stimulating, with polyrhythmic drumbeats and riffs propelling the music forward. They broke the mould be adding hardcore vocals to some songs, in the form of bearded roaring.

Jakob were always going to be good. The place was packed and everyone knew what to expect. They may not be showy, but their music is enough mesmerise.

There is something primitively attractive about it all. The band is bathed in rich coloured light, shrouded by the thick smoky haze. The building hums from the bass. You can feel the vibrations in your chest cavity. The guitar rises and falls in waves and layers, gradually immersing us in aural bliss. The repetition of a tribal drum tattoo is hypnotic. Everyone watches in awe, drinking in the sights and sounds.

And then: the most exciting part. That moment when guitarist Jeff Boyle leans forward to step on his distortion pedal and usher in the climax of the song. It’s that anticipation that keeps you on edge during each song, waiting, wanting.

They rest on the strength of their songs. Each one is immaculately written and played with such finesse and control. Like any three-piece band, each member really needs to pull their weight to make it work. And these three musicians are clearly experts of their craft.

I love how down to earth they are. Dressed plainly in black and delivering no-nonsense, high-quality music. Many bands of lesser calibre would expect stage hands to do the set up and menial labour, but these three were sound checking and tuning their own guitars between songs.

Seeing Jakob at San Fran was the same as it has always been. The same awesome music. The same straight forward delivery. The same songs, but now with a fresher expanded set. The same Jakob: consistently excellent.

Joseph James

Set list from the Jakob show at San Francisco Bathhouse, Friday 24 October 2014

Set list from the Jakob show at San Francisco Bathhouse, Friday 24 October 2014