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Broadcast – Stereo, Glasgow

Vespertine dusts off his winter smoking jacket, has his batman prepare his tweeds and ventures out to check out Broadcast;

Gigs can be more than just music. Great gigs are about a series of factors; venue, company, mood…. even weather. A series of perhaps unrelated but subtly interlinking elements that come together to create magic. Of course, the converse is also true.

Your reviewer came to Broadcast unfamiliar with their material beyond a few songs from their first two albums. Whispers from the cognoscenti warned that the newer material was ‘difficult’. This isn’t often a problem as here at ELM dig the avant garde as much as the next black polo neck wearing dude. But it’s events dear boy, events….

I’ll come clean: I don’t get out much these days. Gigs are now rarer and therefore treasured. I want rock and roll fun, to shake some action, but also for more reflective bands as I often find an emotional connection (and a couple of  beers) can soothe my soul. But last night went wrong; the stars did not align. They took the stage and what began was a sub art-school electronic experiment. They appeared to be making bleeping and whooshing noises in time to some projected psychedelic backdrop.

The singer was moaning and mewling into her microphone. Perhaps it was a synthesis of music, free form creativity and art. Perhaps. It was deeply irritating. Some strange thoughts occurred to me: “I wish they had sounded like Led Zep….I feel old….surely that guy isn’t actually stroking his beard…..do these people like this or do they feel they should?”

I headed to the bar. Still no good. Sum it up? Well, I headed home…one of the few times I’ve ever left a gig early. It simply jarred with me; but then, something that an 18 year old stoner finds exciting is not of interest to a man of my age. I did the right thing.

Yes music can be challenging and often beauty is hidden by tempo changes, unusual tunings, noise. I like working with bands and musicians sometimes. There’s music where the tick is meeting them halfway. But this was different: it was sheer artifice. Knowing, calculated and arch. It lacked any beauty, anger, passion or power – and what is music without those?

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One Response

  1. Sounds somewhat discouraging V!

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