Starting very late and with no support, Magnetophone had their work cut out from the start with an audience of around 100, some of whom were trance-dancing their way through a DJ set long before alcohol kicked in.
I’d already taken a peek at the assorted wires, boxes, pedals and keyboards bedecking the tiny stage, observing in just how many ways it was possible to use a BOSS Delay Pedal and a Yamaha PSS 480 keyboard. I have new hope for my GCSE Music equipment now.
Matt Saunders and John Hanson produce a curious form of electronica; not as far out as Max Tundra, not as trippy as Aphex Twin, but somewhere in between. One of them looks like a farm hand and the other looks like Jesus. On they came, nattering, to the stage, while the DJ set carried on.
Initially we were unsure if they were roadies or the band, but the resonant tones of Oh Darlin’ put an end to speculation. Watching them jack in and unplug various wires throughout, twiddling guitar pedal knobs wired to keyboards and sequencers, was a strange experience. People unfamiliar with the music appeared somewhat bemused, but the performance was close enough in sound to the new album I Guess Sometimes… for recognition in some of us.
Smatterings of applause for the first track were replaced by whoops of delight for the stand-out track Air Methods, which was aired second; then the band played much of the rest of the album and few tracks from earlier releases. There was no encore – somehow it just didn’t seem appropriate. It wasn’t that the band weren’t deserving of one – it is just that on a stereo late at night they are engenders of mood, but in this venue they were…. strange.