So here we are again. Loop. It’s been a while, although not, obviously, the 23 years that it was was before. We’ve done the nostalgia thing but there’s no future in nostalgia. It’s time to blast into the future.
So here is the (foreseeable) future; three EPs, Arrays 1, 2 and 3.
Loop, Trades Club, Hebden Bridge
Due to my extreme excitement at the prospect of new Loop material, I’ve hopped on a train up to Yorkshire to see them live. Hebden Bridge to be precise. Tonight I was meeting my Tweep Sequin World (@), otherwise known as Ann, and her partner Andy. I’ve never been to Hebden Bridge before but I had no trouble finding the venue because I could hear Loop soundchecking all the way down the road 😀 .
The venue was quite nice, like a small working men’s club and we were treated to a cool oil-wheel lightshow. Just before Loop were due on stage, who should show up but fellow-Loop-fanatic Dave! He’d had a ‘moment’ earlier on in the day and, unable to bear the fact that he wouldn’t see Loop and I would, he’d driven up after work. Gave me a surprise, I can tell you!
The gig was great. This, despite the fact that Robert’s amp had blown up during the soundcheck (this is not the first time that Loop has been tormented by an exploding amp). Dan’s guitar was good and loud, resulting in a bigger fuller sound, especially important when Robert goes into one of his wig-outs. This is good.
The set list (as pinched by Dave). They also did Breathe Into Me at the end.
Starting the set with The Nail Will Burn is pretty cool. That bassline, and then all the rest of the instruments come crashing in (especially live). Two songs from the new EP, Array 1; Aphelion and Precession, sounded fantastic. I especially like these live and really want to hear the other two tracks played live (although I’m not at all convinced that they’ll do Coma). Might be a bit tricky right away, as Robert can’t remember the words 😉 The only duffer was (weirdly) Collision, which sounded like it was falling down stairs.
The new EP was on sale at the merch stall, so all’s well with the world. This gig was great fun but a loooooong drive home (including a scary bit in the woods!).
Loop, The Kazimier Club, Liverpool
I wasn’t going to do this because it involved more overnight travel. Urgh. But I couldn’t help myself. This has happened before and will, no doubt, happen again.
When I (finally) arrived at the club in Liverpool, it looked a bit deserted
TBH it didn’t look like there were many people there but you know the rules. As long as there are more people in the audience than on the stage, it flies. The venue was also very dark. The on-stage ‘lightshow’ seemed to consist of some nightlights and one spot. Honestly, this is what it looked like for most of the gig*
Still, the gig was good. Not quite as good as the night before, but it was fun and Burning World sounded lovely and Breathe Into Me was better than the night before.
The set list was the same as at Hebden Bridge so, again, we had two new songs. I like these more the more I hear them, especially live. This new material seems to work some particular themes. I’m particularly loving the drums. These are more prominent live than on the recording and, more generally, the live sound is a lot harder than on record, darker and more fierce, which works for me. Hopefully we’ll get the other two newies, ‘Coma’ (will they even do this one live?) and ‘Radial (a sure fire crowd-pleaser), soon. I really look forward to the day when the set list is built around new material, with a few old favourites thrown in, rather than predominantly old material (much as I love it).
The journey home was interminable, as expected, but we did drive past Chester Roman amphitheatre, so at least that gave me a little frisson of excitement. Ho hum, it’s the weekend in any case, so I have time to sleep it off.
Loop, The Roundhouse, London
This gig was on as part of the 20 Years of Mogwai series. A real mixed bill with Mugstar (prog), Lightening Bolt (hilariously good), Tortoise (missed them because I was too busy chatting with my mate Jeremy) and GZA (hip hop coolster).
But this is a Loop post so, obviously, it’s all about the Loop.
The set kicked in with The Nail Will Burn played as heavy as a hippo, sitting on an elephant, riding on the back of a blue whale. i.e., extremely heavy 😀 . See, THIS is why I like seeing them live. As cool as they are, you just don’t get this on the records.
The audience was a bit thin at the very beginning, but I think that was because a lot of people skipped out after Lightening Bolt to get a drink and smoke a tab on the terrace. The terrace seemed to have a lot going on. Earlier on we’d seen a guy fall down the stairs, on a chair! Twice!! Not sure how that happened but it was his birthday, so perhaps that’s significant. Anyway, me and Jeremy heard the pre-Loop drone and scurried in, but perhaps other people didn’t realize that they were starting. It did fill up though and there was a satisfying amount of whooping going on.
I’ve alluded to this twice already, but the new songs really are very cool. Precession, I think, has the more instantly distinctive riffery, but both of the new songs played live so far seem to fit seamlessly into a set still dominated by much older material. I guess this just highlights the timelessness of a lot of this material.
I enjoyed this gig a lot, largely due to the aforementioned heaviness, but, and I’m certainly not the only one who said this, they absolutely smashed Arc Lite. Honestly, this may be one of the best times that I’ve heard it. Absolutely killed it. Collision managed to stay on its feet (been laying off the sauce) and provided a strong, and popular, closing for the set. Top notch.
Thanks to Dan and Wayne for the setlists on this mini-tour.
Who keeps writing ‘Procession’? 😉
*there are a couple of videos on YouTube that show this up even more hilariously.