Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Karnivool - Highbury Garage - Monday 15th March 2010

For those in the know Karnivool are one of those bands. An artist about whom one can feel passionate about, a band who'd be worth travelling miles upon miles to see. It's astonishing walking into the Garage tonight how many of these hardcore 'Vool fans there are present. When I witnessed the band's first London headline show last October it was to a 250 capcity venue in which many were clearly just curious as opposed to devoted. The heaving 600 capcity Garage is a different prospect with many of the devoted signalling their love outwardly with their Karnivool t-shirt of choice. There are fans present from, it seems, all over Europe as well, all converging on the barrier in front of the stage. Mixed amongst them come those who are still just curious, have heard the word about these Aussie prog rockers but haven't actually heard anything for themselves tonight. I feel proud to say these people appear to be outnumbered tonight.

However before the onset of the 'Vool comes Southampton post-hardcore quintet a word like.attack who are, for want of better words, obviously inexperienced in front of such a large crowd. They seem a little daunted by the occasion and aren't helped by their lead vocalist being sadly inaudible throughout most of their short half hour set. There is energy aplenty and opening song "Though We Aren't Birds We're Still Given To Flight" is a pretty special track but they appear to be lost on the majority of the 'Vool hungry crowd. A good effort anyhow.

When they finally arrive on stage Karnivool are utterly mesmerising. I didn't think they could possibly be any better than last time but I was 100% wrong. From the moment "Simple Boy" kicks in to the moment "Change" fizzles out into nothingess this is a rapturous occasion. Ian Kenny is a bizarrely engaging frontman with as perfect a live voice as one could want while he is backed by four exceptional musicians, with Jon Stockman underpinning each song with his standard groove defying basslines and Drew Goddard leading it all with his, not flashy, but nont the less effective lead guitar work. The crowd, at least at the front, screams along to every word of fan favourites such as "New Day" and "Fear of the Sky" whilst the double whammy of "Roquefort" and "TheMata" grinds the pit into full working capacity and ensures all are lost in the shapeshifting textures and tones that this increedible band create. There's not much that can be said about a gig like this, it flashes by in the blink of an eye but every moment is sumptuous with the nuances of epics like "Deadman" still being just as apparent yet wonderfully subtle as on record. All I can say is roll on next time!

a word like.attack - 7/10
Karnivool - 10/10

Karnivool setlist

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