w/ Tangled Thoughts of Leaving
The Gov, Adelaide, South Australia
Monday 5 February 2024
There’s a good crowd for a Monday night show in Adelaide, ready to hear some loud, chugging, mesmerising heavy instrumental rock, post-metal, jazz, drone, stoner – whatever else you want to call it.
With only two bands tonight it gives both a bit more time to play and we are richly rewarded. The two dynamic and intense sets are well received by a crowd there to see and hear excellent music.
The first time I saw Tangled about twelve or thirteen years ago they played most of their debut album Deaden the Fields (still one of my top 20 albums ever). It was clear these were musicians with significant skill, passion, and energy. Since then each time I’ve seen them they play a mix of old and new, but tonight they surprised by playing almost all of their most recent release Oscillating Forest, in order. Nothing else, which was fitting, given it was really one piece of music in several parts.
It was almost like starting all over again – they have grown with every release, but their compositions have leapt ahead and hit a new high. This music drives, pounds, explores. I’m still in awe of a group of musicians who can play music for 50 minutes with such an incredible clash of chaos and pounding inhuman noise. Each of them is hugely talented they have really expanded the feeling of improvisation that has always been a signature of their writing and playing. What relief you get from their moments of comfort and care are soon plucked away as you are smashed against the rocks and fallen buildings of a post-apocalyptic world. Un fucking believable.
Next up are Russian Circles, who I think have been to Australia four times previously. We don’t get many acts of this quality coming all this way this often, and we will be seeing bassist Brian Cook again soon when he tours with Botch. Sargent House just keeps sending the good stuff, and local promoters like Birds Robe Records keep supplying great support acts.
“Station” and “Harper Lewis” get the perpetual motion machine running with the trademark cracking, pounding drums of Dave Turncrantz, Cook’s chugging and thumping bass, loops and pedal synth, and Mike Sullivan’s guitar floating over the top or cutting through (his riffs at 3:15 always just put me in a trance). They might have played “Harper Lewis” live well over 400 times but there is no lack of passion and energy, and it’s as tight as a drum.
From the familiar to the newer, they give us “Conduit” from their 2022 release Gnosis, which isn’t much of a shift in direction and keeps the chugging going, before the delicate introduction that signals “Afrika” as it picks you up out of the darkness and you reach for the sky. It’s a beautiful contrast and provides one of the best examples of their dynamic sound and moods within one song – an enhanced “1777” if you like. Fuck this is good.
“Quartered” takes us back to the chugging, driving rhythm before “Betrayal” creates a wall of noise behind which bass and guitar take turns in providing riffs and melody. “Gnosis” brings the tempo down again with its engaging crescendocore. “Deficit” comes along next to represent Memorial on its own and we go back to their first album with “Youngblood”. As the night draws to an end, the intensity of “Mlàdek” runs out the set, leaving us with chugging bass in our ears and smiles on our faces.
Russian Circles and Tangled Thoughts of Leaving have these remaining dates together:
Thu Feb 8 – The Triffid, Brisbane QLD
Fri Feb 9 – Max Watts, Melbourne VIC
Sat Feb 10 – Max Watts, Melbourne VIC
Tickets on sale from birdsrobe.com & russiancircles.com
Presented by Bird’s Robe & Valhalla Touring.
Review by Gilbert Potts.
Follow him on Twitter: https://twitter.com/GlbrtPtts1
Gilbert also wrote: ALBUM REVIEW: WE LOST THE SEA – TRIUMPH & DISASTER
Photos taken by Joseph James at Russian Circles’ Wellington show on the same tour, Thursday 1 February 2024