It’s early evening and The Midi is host to Spindrift, a band who play what can only be called ‘Psychedelic Western Cinematic Rock ‘n Roll.’ Most members of the band are, in fact, wearing cowboy hats, and the audience is having a ball dancing along to these tunes. The vocals are often used as an instrument, creating haunting melodies largely without lyrics. Kirkpatrick Thomas’ vocals are strong, and he sings very well in his falsetto range. The drums are very percussive and are occasionally supported by tambourines and some very intensely played maracas.
Projections are a very important part of Spindrift’s shows: the band is currently touring Spindrift – Ghost of the West, where they play the album that serves as the score to the film. Spindrift have done something like this before, with the 2007 film The Legend of God’s Gun, which was based on their 2002 album by the same name. One big difference between the two film projects is the substance of the films, with The Legend of God’s Gun being a homage to the band’s favourite spaghetti westerns, while Ghost of the West focuses on the past, present, and future of the west.
They played a great new song called ‘Kama Sutra Tiger Attack’.
A good 20 minutes before the show and it is already getting difficult to actually enter the venue; it seems most of Incubate has come to see Wovenhand play. They start off very heavily, and the sound is close to stoner and dark psychedelic. The music is accented by percussive drumming, and features David Eugene Edwards’ characteristic vocals through a condenser microphone. After a couple of songs Edwards’ takes out his banjo for a few songs with a more country feel, before going back to his guitar.
Naturally, the focus of this show is Wovenhand’s latest album, Refractory Obdurate, which was released in April of this year. This album is much heavier in sound than the previous few, and while this means the bearded rhythm section of the band can showcase their excellence, it also meant that a few members of the audience were taken aback by the ferocity of the music.
As usual, Edwards puts his heart and soul into his performance, and the show is filled with a tranquil sort of energy which is quite unique to this band.
If I had to summarise a show GOAT in one word it would probably be spellbinding. Luckily, I am allowed to expand upon that, and try to explain just how magical this show is to someone who was not there.
The bare bones of it are as follows:
The band consists of drums, bass, guitar, and singers, and everyone is masked and dressed in an odd assortment of robes. The two singers wear African gowns and masks with feathers, and they dance around the stage with bells, bangles, ribbons, and sticks with feathers.
There is much more to the show however, as the music is an intoxicating blend of all sorts of tribal and folk music with a much heavier psychedelic rock and stoner base. The beats inspire to move and to completely lose yourself in the music, urged on by the shamanistic outfits of the singer and the ritualistic dancing on stage. There is no better time to witness GOAT than late at night, when they fill the darkness with chanting and haunting melodies, and the audience and the singers dance until they drop, or until their ritual is completed, and their spell is released.
GOAT’s new album, Commune, has just come out this September, and is filled with this wondrous spiritual and cultural mixture.
Sol Invictus (De NWE Vorst) are a British neofolk band who have been playing in a variety of settings since the band’s conception in 1987 by Tony Wakeford. They play good strong emotional songs, laced with a kind of melancholy that only the British can achieve. The bass, percussion, and electric guitar are very good at lending emphasis to the lyrics. The vocals are in a small range but have a great deal of expression. They sometimes seem closer to spoken word recitation than conventional singing. The violin and flute provide the melody that the vocals lack, and the drums lend a very dramatic air to the songs.
Sol Invuctus also play a few songs form their new album for the first time. This new album, called Once Upon a Time, is out as of 26th of September, and is in the 70s progressive and dark folk genres.
As we settle down into our seats in the theatre of Tilburg we are welcomed by Marinke, one of the curators for Incubate, who is proud to present Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra. This is one of many incarnations of the project usually called Silver Mt. Zion, whose official band name changes every time someone joins or leaves the band.
This orchestra, which consists of two violins, a bass, a guitar, and a drummer who also plays the organ, plays a mixture of any and all genres of music, including classical, reggae, blues, and stoner. The rhythm section sets the foundation, and the guitar and violins build on it, often with a drone played by guitar or violin and melodies played on top of that with the remaining instruments. The bass does not play the drone, but is in fact very melodic and weaves through the rest of the music. The vocals are often in duets, but this band can also sing five vocal lines at once. Sometimes the female vocals are below the male vocals and this creates a pleasant kind of tension.
Silver Mt. Zion pretty much played the entire 2014 album: Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light on Everything, and the loud applauding of the audience’s standing ovation called the band back on stage for an encore, for which we were very grateful.
God is an Astronaut is the last band playing at Incubate 2014, and their show is a great end to the week. They manage to transition seamlessly between soft and heavy sounds, have a good balance in the guitar sound, very tasteful bass licks, and a drummer capable of great subtlety in his playing. Many of the songs are framed by keyboards, and the vocals, whether clear and delicate or synthesised, are ethereal in sound and remind a lot of the vocals by Alcest’s Neige. The music very atmospheric, but occasionally has sharper edges to the riffs and a slightly more aggressive sound, which make it very danceable.
The stage presence and audience interaction are both pretty good, they don’t shy away from speaking to the crowd and the new keyboard player / guitarist Jamie Dean jumped off stage into the audience a few times to headbang and borrow someone’s sunglasses. While drumming on the live shows is usually done by Stephan Whelan, due to an infection in his leg he had to leave for home. Luckily for the band, they write and record their albums with Lloyd Hanney, who flew in to finish the rest of the tour.
GIAA also played a new song, and it is much heavier in sound, more in the post-metal and even post-black direction. The new album is planned for spring next year.
WORDS: LORRAINE LYSEN