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.