Our Lost Infantry / Annabel Allum / itoldyouiwouldeatyou / Selectric [Live Review – The Boileroom, Guildford, 11/1/15]
One of my favourite things about the Boileroom is the sheer diversity of musical styles that are welcomed within its walls. For this year’s DengFest, Selectric set up an appropriate air of unpredictability via some intense and brilliant post-rock-flavoured fusion, bringing to mind the now-sadly-defunct Acoustic Ladyland – equal parts brutal cacophony and stirring melodicism. itoldyouiwouldeatyou – not a Hannibal Lecter-worshipping death metal act, but actually a rough-edged “sadpop” band – also marked themselves out as ones to watch thanks to buckets of passion and some very good songs.
Annabel Allum definitely made an impression. Not many singer-songwriters can silence a room just by tuning up; the normal reaction to a stripped-down guitar and vocal set is for audience members to chat in groups about a dickheaded boss or whatever – but Allum’s reputation clearly precedes her.
That same reputation is clearly hard-earned. After a week-long birthday party in Amsterdam, you and I would probably opt to spend a few days sleeping it off; Annabel Allum went and played a set made up of haunting and idiosyncratic songs instead. The result was truly rare – my spine was chilled, my heart was warmed, and I didn’t have to tap any loudmouths on the shoulder and tell them to fuck off outside. Bliss.
Unfortunately my prog-loving +1 mistook Our Lost Infantry for a workmanlike pop-rock band and left after about fifteen seconds. What a prat. In reality, Our Lost Infantry are a fresh and 21st-century-friendly version of old-school prog legends Yes – and any band who can groove hard in multiple time signatures while remaining both epic and catchy are winners in my book. If there were a Tinder app for bands and fans, I would definitely swipe right on Our Lost Infantry.
As for my impatient friend, don’t worry – after the show I went back to his place, gave him a bollocking, and thrashed him at FIFA. All’s well that ends well.
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