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A review of...
Man of Moon live at Think Tank, Newcastle
Thursday night at Think Tank. It's a venue in Newcastle that's gradually growing on me. Small enough to host most of the bands that I like, and scruffy enough to have a bit of character. Tonight though... well, I think it's safe to say that this isn't the biggest crowd that these bands will ever play to. Maybe everyone was watching The Ladyboys of Bangkok in the MASSIVE tent outside.
Anyway, the slightly flat atmosphere didn't really affect The Welcome Party who fire up their instruments and it's all guns blazing. In their opening song the whole band (especially guitarist Josh Sercombe) play with a fierce intensity that defies the fact that they are being ogled by such a sparsely populated audience. It's dense and anthemic rock, a bit like The National in their louder moments. The problem, for me, lies in the fact that instead of building up to these moments of release, its like that, pretty much constantly. And there's also some guitar bits that sound like Coldplay. However, when they slow/quieten things down a notch it feels much more fruitful.
Although Man of Moon play loud their ethos seems to be the polar opposite to the previous band's throw everything but the kitchen sink approach. Instead their modern take on regimented krautrock relies on a frankly outstanding drummer (who literally drives the music, putting every ounce of his energy into either pounding skins or setting up various electro flourishes) and a guitarist/singer who can fill in the gaps without overstating his welcome. It's amazing really that a band so young (did I hear rightly that the drummer just turned 21? Wow...) can cook up such a concoction that can be, in turns, so restrained and so pulsating. It's often hard to believe (despite the overwhelming evidence in front of us) that this is a two piece band, and there are occasional blasts of bass coming from somewhere that properly shakes the entire room. Highlights of the set include "I Run" with its ultra simple bluesy, psychedelic groove and "The road " with its irresistible motoric rhythm. Although Man of Moon are currently (rightly) winning plaudits in the psych/krautrock field, you get the feeling that this band is young enough and creative enough to transcend that genre and hit greater heights.