Review: Gallops, Victorian Hardware, I Am Austin and Obelisks at Central Station
Central Station’s setup tonight is more intimate than usual, with the stage being brought forward and no gap to divide audience and musicians. It makes sense for this occasion – Gallops are a spectacle, and as well as sounding great, they’re interesting to watch.
Tonight’s lineup also consists of one-man electronica act Victorian Hardware, the highly acclaimed dance-rock duo I Am Austin and one of Chester’s best kept secrets – Obelisks. As far as local music is concerned, tonight features some of the best.
Obelisks are apologetic tonight. Their elegant yet hard-hitting performance is riddled with technical difficulties, but still remains to impress. The energy and passion on display tonight is faultless and this is, after all, an important aspect of a live performance. So it’s not quite as precise as usual. So things go wrong. So what? It’s music in its purest form, and it will be interesting to see where Obelisks go from here.
The nimble-limbed drum hero known as Mitch doesn’t get much of a chance to rest after Obelisks’ set, as I Am Austin are up next. Their thundering bass and laser-precise dance beats blend perfectly tonight, but the highlight of the show is when bassist Adam Hughes switches over to synth to deliver ‘Bodies’ – an astonishingly loud tour-de-force of I Am Austin’s inventive side.
Conor Bradley, aka Victorian Hardware follows with subtler, beat-orientated electronica. Though at first this appears an odd choice to bridge the gap between I Am Austin’s noisy fuzz and Gallops’ genre-defying performance, the live show develops as it goes on, becoming a strange hybrid between hypnotising and gut-wrenching. Though at first unassuming, there is plenty of applause by the end of the set.
And so it’s left to Gallops to finally step up. For a band who seem to be doing nothing but move up and onwards, with performances at Reading & Leeds and more recently America’s SXSW under their belt, tonight is a welcome chance to catch them before they move on to better things.
They’re the only band I’m aware of who can list Aphex Twin and Fugazi as influences and get away with it. Tonight they are flawless, with their elaborate, hypnotising sounds breaching the barriers of math-rock, post-rock or whatever it is you’d like to call them. There is little interaction with their crowd tonight but it’s debatable whether it’s even needed – Gallops are a mesmerising act to watch. Their more abrasive moments are countered with grace and subtlety, which makes for an enthralling, unpredictable live show. The devoted love it, and a band fuelled by this much proficiency and great music deserve everything they can gain.