Saturday, October 29, 2016

Syd Arthur in Gatefield Sounds

21st October 2016
Gatefield Sounds, Whitstable

The Apricity album is finally out! I've had the tracks ever since they were mastered, but cycled over to Whitstable to pick up a vinyl copy and hear them play a quiet, stripped-down set. Liam was playing electric guitar but with no effect, Josh had the tiniest of kits and Raven was behind an uneffected Wurlitzer 200A electric piano. They told me later how much they enjoyed playing at a volume they could all hear everything clearly, and not having to concentrate so much on triggering effects, etc. so they could concentrate on just playing the songs.

They started with "Portal", the instrumental they've dedicated to Fred (their once incredible drummer who tragically had to leave due to ear problems), also played "Rebel Lands", "Evolution", "No Peace" and the epic "Into Eternity" from the new album, plus "What's Your Secret?" from Sound Mirror (a surprising choice, but it worked for the set). The record shop (serving Whitstable since 1972) was packed out, there were colour-themed orange balloons, craft ales, old friends and family, plus the young guitarist from Herne Bay's up-and-coming prog-rock outfit Witchdoctor, watching from the back, being awed by the band for the first time. Things keep rolling. Here's "Evolution":

A major feature on Syd Arthur appeared in the latest MOJO magazine a few days later, very enthusiastic, and sympathetic to what they're about. (Apricity had already been MOJO's album of the week.) There was an inserted bit written by Paul Weller describing watching them from the side of the stage when they were supporting him on tour, thinking "how the fuck are they doing that?", and I could completely relate to that, remembering back to a gig at the Farmhouse in 2008 probably when something just came into focus and it felt like they were performing sonic miracles. Long may they continue to do so. There's a welcome return to Canterbury on the 18th of November when they play at UKC's Colyer-Fergusson building with various old friends.

And here's something they've quietly slipped out (the original videoshoot for this song didn't work out, due to technical problems with drone photography, I think this works perfectly, in an unexpected way). Footage of Canterbury in the 1920s (I'm guessing) that I didn't know existed:


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