Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Lapis Lazuli albums launch gig

The Ballroom, Canterbury 26th July, 2012

Yes, that says "albums". Lapis Lazuli have brought out two debut albums simultaneously ("Well prog!" sez guitarist Neil). It was going to be three, originally, but their budget wouldn't quite stretch that far. They're called Extended Play (which is what they do best) and Reality Is... (which starts off cleverly with an Alan Watts sample ending with the words "reality is...THIS"). I happily bought both.


This was the first gig I truly enjoyed in this place since it changed from the much more comfortable and music-oriented Orange Street Music Club to the rather slick and music-as-a-sideline-to-selling-alcohol Ballroom. They've got a properly positioned mixing desk now (i.e., not part of the bar!) and under Neil's expert guidance, the six-piece electro-acoustic band was able to sound magnificent. They played one monster set, consisting of pieces averaging about 15 minutes long, starting with "Que Tucas Mi Ognat", a tango-inspired piece driven by Phil's whiplash accordion before morphing into a kind of prog sea-shanty. I was going to try to keep mental notes of the set, but they passed through so many musical genres and textures that I just gave up and grooved with the masses up front until the final notes.

Cameron even managed to squeeze in a couple of bass solos! He's going to have to leave the band soon, unable to fully commit with his music studies in Brighton, but first gets to enjoy a European tour that they somehow managed to organise for themselves (with no backing and almost no budget). They left a few days later, have since played three gigs in Amsterdam, a Zappa festival in Germany and three gigs in Berlin. They've got another eight shows in Germany, Belgium and France before they come back to Kent to play Small World and Smugglers Festivals. I spoke to Phil's girlfriend Diane last night (again at The Ballroom — her friend Jamie Dams, part of Famous James & the Monsters, was playing a solo set), and apparently they're having a great time, very well received by the underground squat communities in both Amsterdam and Berlin. Good on them!


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