Review – X Ray Horse w/ Low Duo, Empty Churches, The Kickliner & Don’t Sleep Dream

They say that necessity is the mother of invention. They also say never start a review with a cliché. I guess sometimes it’s better to go with your gut instinct.

After a series of unfortunate incidents plaguing the original line-up, the X-Ray Horse crew scrambled to get bands to fill up the bill.

Low Duo are always a treat to catch live. Their loud minimalistic music is always an intense trip through the bluest of emotions, where the greyest green lichen that grows on the weary and broken hearted resonates. ’15 years’ tugs at your heartstrings, ‘Ambulance’ drops said heart into the harbour and the cover of The Walkmen’s ‘The rat’ fishes it out, stomps on it and gives it back. The set is over and the only thing left on stage is a smiling piggy, waiting patiently for someone to go and buy an EP (pay what you want style).

Empty Churches. Never heard from them before but they seemed to be comrades in notes (ho ho!), battling the musical fracas once again. They did have a bit of fanbase, as the audience was augmented. How long have they been together? I wondered. The set was loud, with the rhythm section being spot on in the “pounding” department (especially in the western-tinged ‘Asta Vista’). Other songs felt like they possibly paled in comparison to the strongest set pieces (don’t know of the set closer, but was a very cool loud one too). Let’s observe them further.

The Kickliner were the revelation. Sure, there was the much “derided” indie sound (uh? I missed that memo) but it’s not something they indulge too much into. They have quite a few harder-sounding moments (‘3s & 4s’, ‘Zombie’), which were the selling point. Although the audience dwindled in numbers, it felt like a good set, starting a little slower but building in intensity, never too ferocious to stand back, but energetic enough to entice attention. Soundcloud recordings seem to miss that live spark.

It was a special, emotional gig for the people of Don’t Sleep Dream. It was their guitar player’s last gig. Even if their moods were up, you could see a clear glint of sadness in their looks, which blew away and flowed with their music. Their EP, Just a Ride, is a beautiful piece of art (vinyl with paintings and handwritten lyrics), and these songs are pretty good, with some shoegaze heavy stuff (’Grow’) for the fan of the genre.

Not all the set is heavy, there is that quick fix of post punk for the lovers of the scene (‘The Letter’, ‘Freak out’). ‘Just a ride’ is a hard song to listen too, not because it’s bad, but it depends on your emotional attachment to the track. Some bad memories creeped in, like the shadows projected through the venetian blinds at The Harley. Their set ended, they hugged and although the future looks a little overcast, let’s hope something happens to this band.

Under attended but a good night.

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Words & Pics: Sam

Low Duo BandcampTwitterFacebookMyspace.

Empty Churches Facebook.

The Kickliner Facebook. Myspace. Soundcloud.

Don’t Sleep Dream WebsiteFacebookBandcampMyspace.

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