# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Miscellaneous - ICA, London, 26/11/2009

  by Anthony Strutt

published: 13 / 1 / 2010

Miscellaneous - ICA, London, 26/11/2009


The 'Reverence 2' was a three day festival organised by the Club AC30 shoegazing label. On the first night, Anthony Strutt watches performances by the reformed Chapterhouse, Air Formation and Ulrich Schnauss

'Reverence 2' was a festival held by those wonderful people at Club AC30 at London's ICA at the end of November over a long weekend which started on a Thursday and lasted until Saturday. We witnessed nine bands, most of whom played great sets, And it also gave us the first full set in fourteen years from shoegazers from the original era, Chapterhouse. Chapterhouse reformed for one song only at the Truck Festival a year ago, and they also played an invitation at the Luminaire on the Monday of the same week. The first night was opened by Air Formation, a band that was introduced to me via a set they played for us at Pennyblackmusic at the Spitz five years ago. Air Formation have come a long way since then, and tonight's set for me was one of not just their best sets yet, but also one of the best sets of the weekend. As usual, it was too short for me at just over thirty minutes and seven songs long. In the past they have always had a direction that has been massively influenced by Slowdive. Christian Savill from that band, who is now based in the States and was making a rare visit to the UK, was in the audience to witness their set. Christian also played on Air Formation Matt Bartram’s recently released second solo album, ‘Left to Memory’. This was still evident in the music they played, but also what has crept into their sound is the music and influence of the Cure, which doesn't surprise me as I now see Matt a lot at Cure gigs. The guitars sounded much wider in direction, while the keyboards were more paced out, making the sounds hitting us in a very loud manner massive in their direction and approach. This, of course, made me a very happy man indeed. Tonight's set consisted of all new material and comprised mostly of songs from their forthcoming album due in March which is called ‘Nothing to Wish For (Nothing to Lose)’. In their short set, we had multi-textured soundscapes, all consuming guitars that roared over the crowd, and just enough Cure-isms to make Robert Smith try a little bit harder next time the Cure release an album. They were the perfect opening act. After Air Formation, there was a set from Ulrich Schnauss. Born in Germany in 1977 in Kiel, he began his musical career with the bands, View to the Future and Ethereal 77. Since those groups’ break-up, he has become a much sought after music producer and remixer. In recent times he has remixed tracks for Slowdive offshoots, Mojave 3, Televise and Rachel Goswell as well as many others. Ulrich released his first album under his own name in 2001 and tonight he is joined by Kirsty Hawkshaw. Together they played a 46 minute set which is heavy on visuals which were shot in Germany and the USA. The music was heavy on the keyboards and while the last time I saw him it was quite Nu Gaze in sound tonight's set was more electronica-based. Kirsty added an ambient Liz Fraser feel to the songs that she sang on. Ulrich played keyboards as well as a laptop, and while there was not really a lot to watch you were there for the music so the visuals just helped you along with the journey. What music he did play as well. It was the best music that you could hear from these mere machines. It was very trippy while engaging your mind as well and took you down a paved way of beats and grooves in only the way that he could and was genius really. Headliners Chapterhouse were never really like the other shoegazing acts around at the time. For one thing, they weren't on Creation Records. And to my ears, as well they were always much more baggy than shoegazing, but by the time they released their debut album, ‘Whirlpool’, in 1991, having been around since 1987, they were tanned with that logo, which was not a bad thing. The ICA is more than full to see this band whom originally looked as if they were in need of a wash and a good night's sleep. Tonight they looked a lot healthier and meatier, but musically they still delivered the goods in perfect fashion. The set was mainly taken from their 1991 debut ‘Whirlpool’, an album which along with their second and last album,’ Blood Music’ was re-mastered with bonus tracks in 2006 by Cherry Red Records. They played for just under 70 minutes, but everything you wanted to hear. They opened with singer Andrew Sherriff saying, “Thanks for coming down. It's been a while. It's been like 14 years...” and then played a short instrumental the best side of the moody element of the Jesus and Mary Chain. Here the heavy grooves cried out as if in pain for not being played for so long ‘Treasure’ had a big swagger to it and was very chunky as was their first single, ‘Falling Down’, which always sounded like a baggy remix to me, but here was perfect. ‘Then We'll Rise’ was the first of the three tracks they played from ‘Blood Music’ and showed how the band had moved on between records. ‘Blood Music’ is different in direction and is Chapterhouse's ‘Screamedelica’. ‘April’ was slow-paced, magnificently moody, and like a lot of the tracks from ‘Whirlpool’ reminded me of a lot of the Beatles during their ‘Rubber Soul’ era, as it found Chapterhouse similarly experimenting and stretching out. Kirsty and Ulrich joined the band for ‘Precious One’ from ‘Blood Music’, while ‘Something More’ had a Rickenbacker swagger to it. ‘Autosleeper’ was slow and hypnotic until it warmed up and went mad. The band then thanked us again for coming on down, and a fan asked, “Where have you been?” Andrew’s reply was “Here and there. We had a life and we gave it up.” ‘Breather’ followed, remaining stunning and as always very fast.‘Come Heaven‘ was next, while ‘In Your Arms’ was dedicated to Andrew's Dad and had lush 60’s harmonies running through it. Their best known single ‘Pearl’ followed without its Rachel Goswell backing vocals and sounded like a long lost lover from another time. They finished with ‘Love Forever’ from ‘Blood Music’ before coming back for just one encore as they had over run, which was a cover of the Beatles ‘Rain’ and which suited the night perfectly. A great night and it was just one night of three.

Picture Gallery:-
Miscellaneous - ICA, London, 26/11/2009

Miscellaneous - ICA, London, 26/11/2009

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