See as gigs go, I’ve been to few as wonderful as this one. I’ve had a bit of a love affair with *shels for a few years now. I’ve also had slightly less intense, but no less meaningful, love affairs with the two support acts for just as long. If I could marry a gig I would have married this one. And I’d never cheat.
Well, maybe with the occasional hardcore show. Maybe.
Openers Analogue of the Sun were sublime. The band’s balance of beautiful ambiance and distressing heaviness is more or less unmatched. Certainly in the Glasgow scene they stand alone. The whole set was an ebb and flow of vibe and atmospherics complimented by a simply superb sound which really gave the band’s textured pieces justice. Essentially, if you missed them you missed out.
Thula Borah complimented the post-rock side of the headliners more. Their entire set a collection of shimmering guitars and driving rhythms beneath plaintive vocals. The band may be dedicated to the quiet-loud dynamic but each crescendo is satisfying as the last. The more metallic influences that seep into subtly into the band’s music in so far as the rhythm section goes gives them a slight edge in the increasingly overpopulated Glasgow post-rock scene.
Then there was *Shels. They were magical. For a band whose music is based on such emotive intensity the entire feel of the room was more of a party vibe. The band interacting in an entirely down to earth fashion with the audience throughout the set. As far as I’m concerned the set list was flawless, playing equal attention to latest epic ‘Plains of the Purple Buffalo’ and the previous ‘Seas of a Dying Dhow ‘ with an inspiring ‘Journey to the Plains’ being a personal highlight. It was fantastic to hear the incredibly textured musical pieces come to life in a new way with the energy of a full live band behind them. Front man, Mehdi Safa, who I am a touch of a fan boy of, displayed a remarkably powerful vocal throughout the entire set, which just served to make me even more of a fan boy. If ever a band deserved such passionate dedication after a performance though it was certainly this one.
Here’s to hoping *Shels tour more in the future. There’s a kind of magic to the length between their wonderful releases, but it’s not half the magic that there is to seeing them live.
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