You’ve got to hand it to And So I Watch You From Afar, they are totally one of the hardest working bands going. Since their formation in the early noughties they’ve not stopped, releasing an album pretty much every two years and spending the time in-between touring it relentlessly, then making the next one! It strikes me that they like it this way, having done it for nearly 10 years now. And with each new release the venues only seem to get bigger, so I am thrilled to be in the modest surroundings of the Academy 2 this Friday night to catch these math-rock mavericks!
What makes this show even better is the support from Wrexham based outfit Gallops. We thought Gallops were dead and buried when they abruptly split in 2013, but last year they rose up from the ashes with live shows booked and a new album in the works. Said new album, ‘Bronze Mystic‘, was released earlier this year and the band have spent the rest of 2017 touring it hard.
Tonight the three piece plough through tracks from the new record, displaying its many shades. ‘Pale Force’ is a majestic opener, driven by luscious synths and pulsating beats, while ‘Shakma‘ is all about big, punching electronica stabs with playful, electro hooks that smash into you with throbbing bass. Gallops have really pushed the electro side of their sound on this new record and live it sounds really big and thick sounding. In fact, closing track ‘Darkjewel‘ is probably one of the most intense yet righteous techno tunes I’ve heard in a long time. They’ve got the tunes and the live sound down; it’s good to have Gallops back, lets hope they don’t disappear anywhere soon.
As mentioned earlier, And So I Watch You From Afar work hard and rarely take a break. This is very much the case for their live shows. I mean, they’re nearly at the end of a two month tour and they seem completely energised and give it both barrels tonight for 90 minutes of power! I really enjoy watching ASIWYFA as individuals; guitarist Rory is their sprightly leader, bouncing around the stage like his shoes have springs in them. Guitarist Niall and bassist Johnny head bang in unison, looking tough as fuck, while drummer Chris pounds away at the kit like he’s trying to kill it! Coupled with a shit load of flashing LED lights with the odd strobe chucked in, it’s a full on rock show that we’ve got here and it’s properly enthralling!
I will admit, I wanted to hear loads of stuff from new album ‘The Endless Shimmering‘ that this tour is in support of, because I think it’s their best album in years! We get three tunes from the new record which favour its heavier side. ‘A Slow Unfolding of Wings‘ and ‘Terrors of Pleasure’ both manage to be groovy, crushing and majestic all at the same time, while ‘Dying Giants‘ is probably one of their most monstrous tunes to date and is just relentless with breakdown after breakdown. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy with the three new tunes, but there’s some really epic and beautiful moments on the album that I think would sound stunning live.
However, I am all for the pretty much greatest hits set that we get tonight. The quartet smash through select cuts from all of their records to date, including a balls out rendition of ‘S Is For Salamander‘, which is the firework opener from an early EP. They also chuck in a few surprises from their debut album, but it has to be live staple ‘Set Guitars To Kill‘ that steals the show with its mile a minute riffage assault!
Due to the more progressive, dynamic side of their latest record, the band seem to lean on their first two records to compliment this change of pace. I mean, ‘Search: Party: Animal‘ is a fucking huge moment from the ‘Gangs’ album and it is an incredibly exciting opening to the set, with its high end guitar hook and groove ridden drum track.
Every time I see ASIWYFA, they always play with such conviction and come across as humbled between each track. Rory seems to end most songs with “Thank you so much”, which gets more heartfelt as the night goes on. I just can’t help but love this band; their passion is clear to see in a live capacity and there has always been this natural progression in making their live shows bigger and better each time they tour. Tonight, they put on a truly exciting rock show with songs that match the rooms size, leaving the whole room sporting ear to ear grins! Another triumphant set from the Belfast boys!
Like what you see? Why not stick around and check out the other articles and interviews!
Don’t forget to follow Birthday Cake For Breakfast on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!