Russian Circles with support from Cloakroom
Thursday 23rd March 2017 – Empire Music Hall, Belfast
Cloakroom on-stage: it’d be easy to get confused as to whether this is a gig or a controlled demolition of the Belfast Empire. “Thus is the power of the leaf,” the band gives us post-hardcore at its most haunted. The support act’s set runs through the swirling, FX-saturated highlights of their Infinity EP that turned heads back in 2013, and newest single ‘Big World’ – with Doyle Martin’s glacial guitar and spidersilk-thin vocal delivery – a nod to 90’s grunge through the aether.
The band describe themselves as ‘stoner emo’, a sensibility that comes through strong on LP Further Out, tracked painstakingly analog – partially in forests and caves – with the kind of acute awareness of atmosphere that would give Slowdive a run for their money.
The Indiana three-piece’s key strength lies in their ability to stay balanced. Mind-bending delays never overcut tight rhythms, the instrumental’s focus is sometimes delicate, sometimes 3D turbo-fuzz. On tracks like ‘Sedimentary’ and ‘Bending’, bassist Bobby Markos gives us the tonal equivalent of an erupting volcano on-stage while Martin’s vocals stay low in the mix, a voice in the back of your head.
Between the droned-out Dinosaur Jr. fuzz and unbreakable atmosphere, backed up rhythmically by Brian Busch’s relentless crash-heavy drumming, Cloakroom come through like a straight punch to the pineal gland.
Russian Circles waste no time making their headline appearance, eagerly awaited in a packed-out venue. The Chicago noisemakers have been delivering the flagship post-rock sound for over a decade, with six critically acclaimed albums under their belts.
When it comes to cult-status album production the band quickly demonstrate that they can match it with a Golden-era heavy metal grandeur in their live performance. What sets Russian Circles apart from the rest is a uniquely progressive sound, characterised by math-rock intricacies and rhythms that stay unpredictable.
Of course, ‘Deficit’ comes as the definitive highlight of the night, an extended introduction to the power and potential of Russian Circles, one that makes sure to let the whole room shake. An incredible collaboration between Solid Choice Industries and Shizznigh Promotions to put two progressive bands from across the water on-stage at the Empire.
Next up for Solid Choice Industries is the much-awaited Author & Punisher at Belfast’s Barge, April 17th. BYO, industrial doom, on a boat. This won’t be one to be missed.