I arrived from Resfest too late to see the first band, Life Without Dreams. Subway Stars were up next. Here is the blurb describing Subway Stars:
“Drawing influences from Radiohead, Muse, Coldplay, Travis and Silverchair, The Subway Stars aims to instill a raw sense of emotion towards their listeners, instigating the fact that there is an escape from everyone’s sadness and despair.”
I think the blurb speaks for itself. And indeed, the performance did help Jacob find escape from his sadness and despair – by leaving the venue for a beer break. Let’s move on, shall we?
Next up, KLPHQ. In the online review I’ve read of the gig, and other comments people have made to me in conversation, everyone seems to be under the impression that KLPHQ “almost” stole the show from Furniture. Dude, when it comes to stealing shows KLPHQ were that gig’s Bonnie and Clyde. If you ask me, the show left the stage with KLPHQ, got smuggled across the Causeway and squirrelled away in a Swiss bank account.
But before I can try to describe what impressed me about KLPHQ, I need to first do a ranty prelude about what does not impress me in live post-rock.
I’m always wary of bands who descend into extended jams which go nowhere but simply rely on the usual quiet-loud dichotomies to elicit a response. It’s lazy and derivative and not particularly interesting to listen to unless you’re stoned, in which case the sound of a dripping tap might fascinate you equally. Frankly, rather than suffering through post-rock-by-numbers most fans of long instrumentals with hugely contrasting dynamics would find themselves much better off with some Mahler. But despite this, indie kids will still stand around blissing out to turgid 20-minute dronefests when they would never countenance the same sort of dreck from mainstream US college “jam bands” like Phish or DMB.
So (rant over, thanks for staying with me) the reason KLPHQ impressed me and kept me engaged, and I do realize this is all totally subjective, is that nothing ever felt aimless or over-indulgent about their performance, and they sounded distinctive. The thing about the whole quiet-loud thing is that there are so many kinds of quiet, and so many kinds of loud, and so many ways to get there and move on, so when I hear something which sounds totally lifted from a song by some famous post-rock band it irks me. Thankfully, this never happened with KLPHQ. They were tight without sounding rehearsed, unhurried without becoming tedious, and fucking searing in all the right places. Never a dull moment.
I admit I was tired and hungry by the time Furniture came on which may have affected my enjoyment of their set, but it was the third time I’d seen them live and my opinion of them just hasn’t improved. Feel free to disagree if you were at the gig and think otherwise, perhaps it’s just me?