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Arcane Roots - Gorilla, Manchester 02.03.2018

First of all, I loved the Manc-based venue "Gorilla". I mean, yeah there is an essence of pretensiousness; the beer was a bit pricey, there were several slick haired, mustache-aficionados who seemed to disapprove in said choice of beer, but there was generally a good vibe and the stage is something else (you need to see it to see what I mean!) First up was Hyena Kill, a two-piece, off-centre "shoegaze" mix-gen powerhouse. They had a ridiculous amount of presence and mad upkeep of tempo for such a small number of band members. It just goes to show that you can never underestimate the power of a somewhat basic setup. Vocalist/guitarist Steven Dobb belted out these incredible guttural sounds, which set the standard for the evening. These guys are meant to be on this tour. Next up was Grumble Bee. Off to a rocky start, but not the right kind due to technical issues. Needless to say, the solo ambient artist Jack Bennett rescues it with a little charismatic chatter. He has such crisp-smooth tones, you want to hear more. Still, it couldn't hurt to have a fourth member to lighten the load on Bennett. For what he's trying to accomplish sound wise, I think he's one member away from having a hard-hitting, up-and-coming collective, rather than a solo project. However, it seems like it's still early days for him and I definitely want to see what he comes up with next. Finally, Arcane Roots hit the stage in exactly the way you would expect them to; a visuo-auditory experience of lights and ambient sound. They came out to "Off The Floor". These gents have such a huge sound with Andrew Groves' vocals being track perfect. These boys are well rehearsed and ready to show the rest how it's done. There is a real sense of craftsmenship when you listen, with blood sweat and beers having been ploughed into every track. Easing us into "Matter" dials up the atmosphere in here. It felt like you could cut the tension with a knife, every single member of the crowd hanging on with baited breath. It's hard to describe in words how a band can make such an organic sound through the use of so much tech. The track hits its climax with a crisp and cutting scream, it seems that Groves' vocals simply cannot falter. Some of my favourite tracks from the performance were "Triptych", "Before Me" and in particular, "You Are". The only track they performed from their self-released album "Left Fire", it was amazing to finally see it live. There were only a few hiccups throughout the whole performance, where the crowd seem slightly put off by Groves' stern requests to stop moving around so much as it was moving his equipment on-stage. It seems counterproductive for a band to demand a crowd to move in a certain way and there a was an element of atmosphere lost, less people felt engaged in the softer tracks than they were initially. Regardless of these seemingly unnecessary complaints, they crack on with the set and for the most part, all is forgiven. They finish on "Half The World", a fitting end to a rock-solid performance that has been unparalleled and sets the bar incredibly high for other British bands on the scene now. Simply put: you need to see this band live, they are mind-blowing.

Review - Cee Gregory

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