Gigs 'n' that happened.
Thursday 8th April 2010; Russian Circles at The Thekla (previously known as the Old Profanity Showboat).
Only one support act, a trio of guys called Earthless; who sounded like an electric guitar with wild staring eyes and a beard soaked with cheap whiskey and crystal meth, hooked up to a wall of amplifiers powered by flaming motorcycles, being fired into the sun. They were awesome, and essentially just spent a solid half hour jamming out psychedelic stoner blues grooves, making most of it up as they went along.
Russian Circles were an altogether more sober and chin-stroking proposition, trading in the free-form space rock explosion of their tour buddies for more carefully composed post-rock soundscapes. Despite there being only three of them, Russian Circles are capable of making the most apocalyptic noise; but this is tempered by moments of calm and intricate beauty, as songs unfurl and become entwined with melody... and then the world ends.
Friday 9th April 2010; And So I Watch You From Afar at The Cooler.
Again, just a single support act; and the only band of the four seen this week to feature actual vocals. Lafaro were something of a revelation; a really nice bunch of guys that did nothing more complicated than play really good rock songs really well, prompting delirious hooting and questionable dancing from all in attendance. Well, okay; from just me, Charlie and The Boy. They're playing Bristol again in a couple of months, and it seems very likely that we shall go see them again.
The last time I saw And So I Watch You From Afar was about ten months ago, when they played their hearts out to one man and his dog at legendary Bristol toilet The Junction. They were great then, and this time around they were nothing short of life-affirming. ASIWYFA make music that is often labelled as post-rock, and that's kind of understandable as they tick a lot of the post-rock boxes; grand sweeping sounds, wall of noise guitars, complex song structures, no vocals... The thing is, ASIWYFA do it all without the pomp, pretence and tedium of most post-rock bands; and their shows are amongst the most intense, passionate and energetic that I've ever seen.
I think they may be one of the best bands in the UK right now, and almost no-one knows or cares.