Thursday, 27 May 2010

A Place to Bury Strangers. Heaven, London 25/5/10

Having watched A Place to Bury Strangers perform in a club basement at 1am in Shoreditch just 4 nights previous, the loudness and intensity of New York trio’s performance was so overwhelming that I had to check out their second London gig in a matter of days at Heaven on Tuesday. If anything I was as intrigued as to how APTBS would compare in terms of the difference of venue size. With both gigs being only a few days apart, it was as if their Friday night show in the CAMP venue at East London’s Stag & Dagger festival was like a secret warm up gig to this 1000 capacity show. But in many ways both sets were different yet still had me leaving the venue with a mind blowing sense of euphoria.

So anyway, we arrived at Heaven, missing the start of the first support act but did still manage to catch the last 2 and a bit songs in their set. However, I had perhaps regretted slightly not getting their sooner. The Megaphonic Thrift impressed me with their use of shared male/female vocals drowned with some extreme guitar feedback. Combining the louder elements of Shoegaze with a certain noise pop.
Crocodiles (below) were the next support act on. Now, I was pleased to notice earlier that day that they were playing this show, because I have missed out on checking them at various opportunities this year, including The Great Escape festival just the other week as well as enjoying their recent singles. And they managed to fit in with the APTBS aesthetic with their lo-fi sound and heavy pop elements yet still trying to contain as much of a rock ‘n’ roll image as possible, with the lead singer dressed in black and wearing shades in a dark room. The lighting was also impressive, focussing on the colour red to juxtapose with their dark imagery.

The closer towards the start of the main act, the more and more crowded the room had become. APTBS came onto the stage at approximately just gone 10pm and launched straight into ‘In Your Heart’. They continued their loud set with a mixture of tracks from both their self titled debut and last years incredible follow up ‘Exploding Head’, comparing to Friday night’s show which focused primarily on their latest. This performance I feel did take a few tracks before it began to replicate the energy and ferociousness of their CAMP set but once they were in full swing there was no stopping them. One thing I noticed was how much Oliver Ackermann’s vocals stood out this time. Where as a few days earlier they seemed a lot more drowned out in the mix, much to the similarity of Kevin Shields’ vocals for My Bloody Valentine. Either this or that the guitars were quieter than they intended to be at Heaven, but either way, both sounded equally amazing but for different reasons. My highlight of their set was the epic climax, with an extended performance and build up of ‘I Live My Life to Stand in the Shadow of Your Heart’ which many expected to be the finale. However, after a couple of minutes of noise the trio subtly worked their way into ‘Ocean’ which ultimately would be the set closer, meaning the crowd emphatically left the venue with their ears ringing excruciatingly, as a Bury Strangers gig should do.

My journey home left me contemplating how much of an impression APTBS leave on people. Having an extremely dedicated group of fans, I didn’t realise how popular they really are after witnessing these two gigs by them inside a week, and I firmly believe they have the ability to become a fairly massive underground alternative band for years to come. So far, they certainly have the songs and the stage performance to back that up.

Words : Freddy Rothman
Pics : Lee Massey

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