My Gig of a Lifetime took place in Sheffield on Monday 20th January 2014. The venue was The Foundry, and the band was 65 Days of Static (or alternatively 65daysofstatic, or 65dos -whichever you prefer).

I wasn't aware that I would be writing about this gig beforehand, but when the chance came I jumped at the opportunity, partly because it seemed so fitting and partly because I spent the entire gig thinking how I could describe this momentous occasion to others at future social events, at work, to people in a club later on, to my wife when I got home, to...well to any poor sod that would listen really.

To fill in the backdrop roughly thirteen years prior to this, approximately a mile away from the venue in question, I was in a terrible brown corporate lounge of a terrible brown and grey hotel on a work introduction course as part of a terrible (although at times memorable) temping job. Luckily in the early 00's dinner hours were still allowed, and as such a bunch of us work colleagues and a few of the newcomers decided we'd venture to our favourite work-based public house for dinner. One of these 'newcomers' said he didn't have any money and couldn't come, so I offered to buy him lunch - likely lasagne and chips – and a wonderful friendship began.

In the time after this that same person and I had both moved onto different cities doing quite different things, but then again after six years we found ourselves for the first time residing in the same city again. He was looking for a band member to complete a newly-formed line up, and the rest they say is history. Several EPs, a lot of gigs and even more miles later, we embarked on writing and recording an album, an album with a concept of sorts. That concept was the end of the world, and more to the point the feeling of lack of control we all have in the world because it is impossible to know what is truly going on. We don't know which facts are reported, which ones are skewed, who is telling the truth, what danger are we really in. We released the album, and are proud of what we did.

In mid-September 2013 65 Days of Static released 'Wild Light' and, well, they nailed it. They captured all the things we were trying to say, the feelings we wanted to convey and some of the sounds we wanted to make, and they did this to perfection. As I listened to the album obsessively over the following months, I felt in complete awe at what they had done. I would in no way compare what I've done in my musical outings to that of 65 Days of Static, but took great joy in seeing someone do something spectacularly well and put it all across so perfectly. It's kind of like that laugh you get when you're trying to describe something, and someone else just blurts out something right on the mark that you can't help but smile at for ages afterwards at the perfect way in which they have said the exact thing you couldn't quite find the words to. I had had a lot of admiration for this band previously and had heard snippets along the way, but when the album dropped I was transfixed.

For those that aren't familiar with 65 Days of Static's output I would interject with the following nugget of info: They're instrumental and make music that is danceable to (in parts). They had managed to create this feeling of unease, tension and unsettledness which the modern world finds itself in with no words, or just two sentences to be exact, and this is where the gig started.

The packed, dark and smoke filled room suddenly got darker as people, some slowly some excitedly, took their places and settled in for the ride. Bright blue shards of light filtered through from behind the drum kit as the band walked on stage and took to their respective collection of instruments and hit go with the opening track of 'Wild Light', which is called 'Heat Death Infinity Splitter' and that sentence, "No one knows what is happening. There is a lot of danger out there. OK." The synths kicked in like a force from beyond. Slow burning and unbelievably menacing, the track built and built with drummer Rob Jones pounding the drums like a man possessed, although the simple one-two slow pace with which he began the track was soon shattered as he became more and more machine like throughout the song and throughout the set as things got more complex. Once everything crashed in, you got the full benefit of the lights and the perfectly balanced sound, just an absolute wall of sound blowing your face off. Guitars crunched through with more intensity than they do on record to give it a real urgency,

Barely enough time lapsed for a cheer before the band launched into 'Piano Fights' and then 'Crash Tactic' from their 2010 album 'We Were Exploding Anyway'. 65 Days of Static are quite simply the masters of building songs up to an incredible peak, and you could almost hear a collective 'Yeeeessss' from the audience as everything came to a head and the stop start guitars/keys and drums gave way for the dance anthem noises that finish ‘Crash Tactic’.

A few more tracks were offered from the two most recent anthems, and then the earth- shattering intro of 'Prisms' kicked in to an almighty cheer. Harrowing as it is gentle, this track is probably the stand-out track from 'Wild Light' and is that all encompassing song which has the band doing everything they do best. That pounding and machine-like work from Jones let the three frontmen Joe Shrewsbury, Paul Wolinski and Simon Wright lay down their music. All three respectively switched between guitars, synth and bass throughout this set and throughout this track. With 'Prisms' the intense ringing-out of the main guitar from Joe Shrewsbury must have had the hair on everyone's arms and necks standing on end and not just mine.

It was obvious looking around as me and my friend and band mate who had travelled down from Newcastle with me for the evening that everyone in attendance was almost silent and just taking it all in, frozen in awe at the sound coming from the stage and these four chaps in their home city. Those bright blue lights synched with the songs, giving them a visible pulse which fitted the band’s sound perfectly. It is often odd seeing instrumental bands as there isn't the focal point of a singer, but with 65 Days this was replaced quite a lot by the lights and on a good handful of the tracks by Rob Jones and his blurred limbs. A band so cinematic and spectacular came to life with the simplest of audio visuals, and that's just another element which 65 Days of Static encapsulated this evening.

That rise and fall throughout the songs is the band’s speciality and none more so than on 'Sleep Walk City' with its memorising bass line and screeching guitars. Live it is another spectacle all together, and just when it had verged to a point of total ecstasy they broke everything down to a solitary tear-inducing piano, making the entire room fall silent.

All the while my fellow gig-goer exchanged glances and nods of appreciation while remaining throughout barely able to or wanting to utter a word to each other, While the set was very heavy on material from ‘Wild Light’, they did find room to include several cuts from their debut album ‘The Fall of Math’, including 'Install a Beak in the Heart That Clucks Time in Arabic' and 'Retreat! Retreat!', both of which sounded even more modern and fresh than they did when they were very first released.

They ended the main set with the beautiful 'Safe Passage' which makes you feel like you are being guided into heaven by synthesisers. The band had a brief rest before coming out for an encore, featuring some older tracks including fan favourites 'AOD' and 'Fix the Sky a Little’.

Hopefully my gushing will have done some justice to the gig and what my friend and I saw and shared that night. We had watched together a band releasing something that we had slogged over for a long time, but just taking it beyond what we could have ever hoped or managed and we both took so much pleasure in that. 65 Days of Static are not the most instantly accessible of bands, but that is what makes them so special. They have developed their sound over the years, and have reached perfection with ‘Wild Light’. To see it played out in a live setting was a joy, and is a memory that I will look back on and enjoy for a long time.

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