I have often come away from gigs thinking to myself that epic is the only fitting word for a particular moment, normally somewhere near the end of the set, when the guitarist cranks up the overdrive, hits the delay pedal for everything its worth and tries to break the windows of the venue with feedback.
It’s very rare that I come away thinking that epic is the only fitting description for an entire gig, but after the Early Years’ soaring 60 minutes on stage, that’s exactly the way to describe it.
While only actually performing seven songs in the set, yet running comfortably over the hour mark, the Early Years take a sound that many British bands have indulged themseveles in but ultimately shied away from. Prog might not be sexy, but with songs like So Far Gone or the evenings closer, Simple Solution it’s sure as hell cool.
Opening with their Steve Lamacq-championed first single All Ones and Zeroes, the band set their stall out early on – swirling effects, strobe lights and ethereal vocals. This isn’t a night for people who want three minute pop songs to take their minds off Valentines blues; this is music for people who play air guitar with digital delay.
Quite where the time disappeared Im still not quite sure, but it didnt feel like the band were on stage that long. The more serene, poignant moments scattered throughout the set, with tracks like Brown Hearts and new track Say What I Wanna just melted into the distortion laden riffs and four to the floor groove of the more upbeat tracks.
The penultimate song of the nights set, High Times and Low Lives nods it head to Shoot Speed, Kill Light era Primals. Indeed, it would be easy to litter this review with references to The Secret Machines, Death in Vegas or the aforementioned Bobby Gillespie led army, but to do so would unwarrantedly distract from the quality of the material, and performance, displayed for the hundred or so revellers that had come to witness the evenings entertainment.
Despite practically not acknowledging the audience until the end of the final song, when the intricate arrangement of the preceding set was thrown aside for a proper fuzzfest, the magic on stage was quite enchanting, and as soon as I had decided that tonight was a fair use of the word epic, I wanted it to start all over again.