Thursday, 6 September 2018

T'n'E - Star Inn, Guildford 02 Sep 18

So here we go, the second night of Trial N' Error Productions at the Star Inn, Guildford.

Stefan put on a cracking night previously, and from the line up, this looked like an absolute corker. With four bands for three quid, you can't complain.

I was a little disappointed Cyberwaste wasn't able to make it down, and I was later informed by James (Slow Clinic, Chrono) that Ashlinn was ill, and I for one wish her a speedy recovery, as Cyberwaste was excellent last time, and I'd been looking forward to it.

However, let's get into it. I'd arrived a touch early and was able to see a few of the soundchecks, like a true hipster music enthusiast.

I'd made a few notes during the bands:

First on was Slow Clinic, the brainchild of "Reverb James": James Armstrong.

Bowed guitar brings a hint of majesty from the first note, which swells and threatens to suffocate, but no. This is not a gruff show of brutality, this is a wave to carry your mind, not drown it. Notes rise like islands, leaving you feel as though you are watching a film, a gentle panning shot of some unknown landscape. I'm reminded in part of Boards of Canada. I feel as though I am hearing an aural watercolour, a representation of a loved family photograph of an old holiday, smiling through the sadness at the memory I'll never quite recover. It is captivating stuff, and at times hard to believe that it is improvised.

Next up were Chrono, and James was back on stage with a full band.

Described as post rock, you could guess at any number of genre tropes, and with the ethereal start, you'd be forgiven for thinking this was going to be some lovely 4AD worship. Not so, as the wave breaks and the riffs begin to crash against your head. Stand on the pier and watch the fireworks. You can see as the colours burst in the sky that these guys enjoy what they do. OK. Time to dispense with any metaphors or similes. It is just good music, that borders on telepathic, considering the band's prior logistical difficulties, but then, you'd never realise that unless they'd told you before. This is the soundtrack to drinking a beer on the beach, watching a glorious sunset. The kind of thing you really don't want to end any time soon.

an early haunting

Guitar. Bass. Double-bass. Organ. Ok. Yes. Good. More of that lovely jangly summer guitar tone, the kind you'd hear on a Durutti Column record. This is laid back, the organ a touch understated, but not sinister. Guitar change. Some strong instrumental post punk. The Joy Division shirt should have been a clue, and I mean no disrespect when I say that. Another instrument change. Violin back to a sadder tone, but this is compelling, highly competent musicianship, and while the changes interrupt the flow a little, I'm very intrigued to see how this would pan out across the course of an album. Oh, and flute too now. Definitely a band I'll be keeping an out for, seriously talented five piece.

I found out after their set they're about 2/3 through working on an album. Keep your eyes peeled.


A somewhat off-kilter four piece this. From first impressions, this could be discordant as fuck, but we get vocals for the first time tonight and they hold our hand, guiding us through the chaos. As the dust settles, you notice this is the eye of the storm. Hush child, let the wind carry you forward. It's kind of like Clann Zú on acid. Or at least on the stereotypical descriptions of acid as portrayed in some kind of Looney Tunes waking nightmare. Some impressive noise work here, pedalboard abuse perhaps, either way, it is joyful to see people having so much fun making such a bloody racket, only saying that doesn't really do it justice, as I'm really enjoying it, not being the grumpy arsehole neighbour telling them to turn it down (Yeah! I'm talking to you developers!). Listening to this band feels like sticking your head in a washing machine for a spin cycle or two then swiping away the cobwebs with a slice of lemon that's been doused in gin, and wrapped around a fucking massive sledgehammer. 

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