A blast of Cologne this way comes from London’s Eat Lights Become Lights, who are greeted with enthusiasm by the swelling throng. Several songs in, however, it’s apparent that two men, their laptops and a live drummer aren’t enough to hold our interest, and we head back upstairs to reacquaint ourselves with the bar.
In the wake of 2013’s Songs Of Lies And Deceit debut and avidly received live shows, The Lucid Dream are one of the bands of the moment on the psych circuit (a scene which the group deny they belong to). The band wear their hometown pride on their chests in the form of Carlisle United FC football shirts and their songs carry the contrarian, defiant bleakness of outsiders, like storm clouds gathering on the edge of a summer’s day.
Crowd pleasers in the old-fashioned sense they are not, and with tonight’s set almost exclusively from the Dream’s new self-titled album, one rather entertaining dreadlocked gentleman whirling around at the front of stage spends the entire gig forlornly calling for the single Heartbreak Girl, like a lost sheep bleating on the Cumbrian hillside, his cries disappearing into the whirling ether.
In the low-ceilinged, shoebox dimensions of this venue, the volume is brain-melting, taking off with the thudding instrumental Mona Lisa, the musical equivalent of a controlled explosion emanating from the compact stage.
No doubt there will be some in the room experiencing flashbacks to Spiritualized and Loop, but the only nostalgic thing about this crew is that they play all their own instruments, including the melodica on the spiralling Unchained Dub, one of the highlights of the set.
Vocalist Mark Emmerson breathes a deceptively shimmering West Coast tone into the sinister Cold Killer, cutting through the layers of relentless reverb and slabs of white noise. As my grandma and fellow Cumbrian would have said, “They can hold a tune”. You & I starts off sweet and poppy before threatening to destroy the place by feedback, a devastating closer.
The disgruntled, dreadlocked sheep is still chuntering on the way out that he wants his money back (for the lack of Heartbreak Girl). But, for this band, the past is behind them and their sights are firmly set on a blinding future.