Something isn’t quite right when 65daysofstatic hit the stage at the Palace in Aldershot, a place that doesn’t get many gigs of note. There’s no incessant whooping or cheering at their arrival, but they’re not ignoring the band’s presence either. The sound from the crowd is, in fact, nothing. It’s the kind of audience that is reserved for Sigur Rs concerts: quiet and polite but not really doing anything. As such, the inactivity puts a significant downer on an otherwise outstanding performance.
The Sheffield-based quartet have been all about the beats in recent times. Their live shows since 2008 have started to resemble one long, continuous rave as their new material (both album of the year contender We Were Exploding Anyway and the subsequent Heavy Sky EP) explores new territory and almost an entirely different genre. As such, the post-rock leaning material of old doesn’t get too much of a look in this evening and it seems like that chapter of the band’s career in general is withering away. Out of 13 songs, 10 of them are new. However, this is not really a bad thing given the strength of their current output, and the fact that a few people in the venue seemed at least to know who the band was (one audience member kept shouting for the rarity Major Cities between every song).
Of the older material, it’s the ‘greatest hits’ – Retreat! Retreat! and Radio Protector – which are still anthems of an almighty kind. It is, however, the electronic-based sounds that pack a far bigger punch nowadays. Mountainhead is almost tribal-like in its energy levels and Crash Tactics is a muscular and beefy live song. Proceedings reach a more theatrical peak when Pacify gets wheeled out with its looping piano melody. The best is saved for last with Tiger Girl, a 10-minute slice of euphoria that Aldershot has probably never seen before and may never see again; it’s hard to stand in awe and in appreciation of the glorious noise when it compels you to dance along to it.
Are the band pertubed by the hushed atmosphere? Not really. Do they play as if they life depended on it anyway? The answer is a resounding yes. All four members of the band are still gripping to watch as they stumble frenetically across the stage like wind-up toys. From the moment they get onstage to the end where the last synth notes of Tiger Girl roam around the Palace they are ‘in the zone’. Banter is kept to a minimum, aside from a brief conversation about unicorns.
So, as people collect setlists and drumsticks at the end, where are 65daysofstatic at as a live band? Well, they’re still focused on the future as opposed to the past. They’re still an electrifying live force that’s hell-bent on making as much joyous noise as possible onstage. It’s a shame they had an audience exhibiting such minimal levels of excitement, for they deserved a lot better.