Admiral Fallow and the ghosts of Godspeed You! Black Emperor

Last night Hugh and I went to see Admiral Fallow at The Kazimier in Liverpool. I am not sure that either of us were sure of what to expect and given the cold and thick rain I don’t think we would have been too disappointed if the other had decided not to go. So we were both pleasantly surprised.

I had picked up their last album Tree Bursts in Snow in June when we spent a few days in Edinburgh. I had never heard of them before but it had pride of place in Avalanche Records new home on Grassmarket so I thought I would give it ago. I have not listened to it as often as I should. It was probably overshadowed by The Dexy’s album which I picked up the same day. I was also discouraged by a review that mentioned Snow Patrol. I know very little about Snow Patrol apart from the all pervading Chasing Cars which the kids like to sing very loudly at inappropriate times – that is probably all the time – particularly when it comes to the kid with the loud voice.

I saw the poster advertising the gig in Probe Records when buying more albums that I can’t afford last week and didn’t think I would go. Then Hugh sent the email asking if anyone was interested so I said I would be up for it.

One of my favourite parts of a gig is watching an unknown band set up on stage and trying to get an inkling of what they might be like from the number of guitars and other instruments being subjected to the soundtrack. The guitars goes to one of my golden rules of a gig. The ideal should be no changes of guitar. As soon as they start being changed and swapped around points get knocked off. There were perhaps too many guitars last night but it was kept within reasonable limits. Other instruments included a flute, clarinet and an accordion. All these were good things although there was some Jethro Tull nervousness with the flute.

There was a definite Scottish timbre to the music which may be partly where the Snow Patrol reference had come from but King Creosote is from Scotland and there was some of that as well, particularly on the quieter moments. The flute and the clarinet wove round the back of the sound for most of the time and no one stood on one leg. There was some swapping of guitars but mostly between electric and acoustic so I could live with that.

Perhaps the best moment was when the whole band, six of them, came to the front of the stage to sing a song a cappella. There were loud bits as well and even some distorted guitars and tattoo beating of drums.

I was reminded of a review I had read a few days previously of the new album from God Speed You! Black Emperor.  We saw them in concert years ago and there were quiet bits then loud bits and then even louder bits and there was something redemptive about those loud bits, a great sense of release in the overpowering noise. The review noted all this and then noted that Coldplay now make a similar noise when they go loud, although not as good and with Chris Martin singing on top.

So no cooking last night and this evening and tomorrow I am out to see Mark Mulcahy. There will be a short report on that and on the partridge I am planning to eat with quince sauce on Friday.

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