Plunging ever deeper into the windswept sensory overload of emotionally-guided rock, The Feel Trip European tour brings together three leading lights in introspective sounds and puts them on a rotating headlining gig.
Tonight it’s Skyharbor’s turn to headline, leaving Tides From Nebula to open up with an instrumental take on post-metal that fills the room with spine-tingling atmospherics. If the Warsaw-based band achieve the musical equivalent of an emotional breakdown, then Australia’s sleepmakeswaves – again, vocal-less – are a moment of epiphany. With the Antipodean knack for atmospheric rock (see Karnivool and Dead Letter Circus) they channel electronic undertones through a heady wash of bright, twinkling soundscapes.
It says a lot about the opening bands that some of the audience leave before Skyharbor. But one can’t help but want to cry out “Philistines!” to the deserters. It’s a big deal that Skyharbor are touring; with Guiding Lights, a sumptuous follow-up to 2012’s Blinding White Noise: Illusion And Chaos, to explore and a line-up of international members – plus TesseracT vocalist Daniel Tompkins – there’s much to be enjoyed in their short but cinematic set.
The bubbling opening bars of Allure introduces a run of seven back-to-back songs from Guiding Lights. Some might call that overkill, but the new tunes soon have the audience enthralled. Evolution’s smouldering pop undercurrent is pulled in opposing directions, while Keshav Dhar’s fretwork decorates the ambient expanses with nimble progressive scales. Both Dhar and bassist Krishna Jhaveri play with their eyes closed, adding to the sense of meditation as Tompkins’ dreamy vocal during Patience takes our minds away from the beer-stained surroundings to a transcendental state.
Skyharbor’s performance is adept, sublime and shimmering with heavy leanings, especially during the anthemic Guiding Lights and the closing Celestial which attacks with cathartic, screamed harmonies and technical crunch. With it being a rotating headline gig there’s no encore, but that’s a minor disappointment in an otherwise euphoric night.