Sunday, March 27, 2011

Lapis Lazuli

Casey's Alehouse, Canterbury — Friday 25th March 2011: Lapis Lazuli, with support from Joe Inkpen's Mop Collective.

The Mop Collective were a much smaller group than what I saw of them last time. Again, despite excellent musicianship and interestingly complex compositions, their music failed to engage with my brain. I thought perhaps I was just a bit tired, or it was the fault of the awkwardly shaped space they were forced to play in. But in retrospect (after Lapis managed to grab my fullest attention for the entirety of their set) I think it's more to do with the fact that it's one man's vision being executed by an ensemble, rather that the output of a group mind, which was very much in evidence with LL's music.

Members of the interconnected Canterbury bands Delta Sleep, Zoo For You, Boot Lagoon, Syd Arthur were milling around — it felt like a real occasion.

Lapis Lazuli's first gig
Lapis Lazuli, not long ago, at their first gig (Orange Street?)

Lapis Lazuli's set consisted of several ambitiously long, complex instrumental pieces: two guitars (one being Neil Sullivan who I met and jammed with at that party a few weeks ago), Cameron from Boot Lagoon on bass (absolutely bang on from start to finish), Adam from Delta Sleep on drums (superb, as always), and a percussionist who also switched between trumpet, low whistle and analog electronics. Phil from Madame Molotof and Mr. Lovebucket also guested on tenor sax on a couple of pieces.

A mighty sound — compelling, engaging and (just what I like) complex without being soulless. There was a thrilling rock'n'roll energy, despite the 'post-rock' nature of their compositions. I sense a huge creative potential lurking within this ensemble. If you're in the UK, look out for them on the Kaplick touring festival stage (they've sort of signed on as 'house band').


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